Elaine Alice Petersen Champion, age 93, died peacefully surrounded by her loving family Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, at her home in St. George. She was born July 8, 1924, in Los Angeles, California, the only child of Oscar Peter Petersen and Alice Elizabeth Schwartz. On June 16, 1948, Elaine was married and sealed for time and all eternity to her sweetheart, Frank Gilbert Champion, Sr., in the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were married just a few months shy of 50 years.
Elaine grew up in Los Angeles, California, and graduated from Lincoln High School. She was a member of Job’s Daughters. Elaine grew up Presbyterian but later joined the LDS Church, where she met her future husband, Frank, at a fireside in her uncle’s home. They dated and corresponded while he served in the Merchant Marines during World War II.
They spent their early years raising their children in Monterey Park and Monrovia, California. Elaine loved being a wife and mother, but she was a creative and needed an outlet so she started painting in her late 20s and became a prolific and accomplished artist. She produced over 500 paintings and various wood sculptures, collages, and painted ceramics. Elaine also liked to sew, crotchet, knit, macramé, wallpaper, and refinish/reupholster furniture. She had a beautiful singing voice and played the piano and organ, later playing in church and at the Seattle and St. George temples. In addition to an inquisitive mind, Elaine had a lively sense of humor and enjoyed people. She had an incredible memory for people, dates, places and things and was also an avid reader. With her passing, the “world’s greatest authority of trivia knowledge” was lost.
Some of Frank and Elaine’s greatest trials were losing two of their sons, one as a child in 1963 and one as an adult in 1988. They remained true to their faith and were greatly blessed.
In 1965, the Champion family began a new adventure by moving to the Northwest and settling on Vashon Island, Washington, where they lived for 33 years. They were prominent in helping start the first branch of the LDS church on the island. All of their children graduated from Vashon High School, going on to college.
Elaine continued her art, exhibiting at the Frye Art Museum and Seahurst Gallery in Seattle, the Puyallup Fair and various other venues, winning numerous awards. She chaired the 49th art exhibit for the Northwest Watercolor Society, where her art was prominently displayed. She was a signature member of the Watercolor Society and was also a member of Seattle Co-Arts. Elaine exhibited at the St. George Art Museum and was a member of the Southern Utah Watercolor Society. Elaine is most famous for her technique of délimiter (later referred to as Elaine’s “Magic”), a distinctive signature style that later won her several awards.
Elaine also adored animals, especially Jack Russell terriers, having raised several. Over the years her menagerie included various cats, chickens, turkeys, parakeets, guinea pigs, a pig (that thought it was a dog) and a horse. She was also very philanthropic, donating to numerous charities and helping support several missionaries on their missions for the LDS Church.
After her husband, Frank, passed, Elaine moved to St. George, Utah, to be near family and enjoy the spectacular scenery Southern Utah offers. She loved to travel and visit other family members in the United States and Europe. Some of her favorite countries were Germany, England, France, Denmark, Norway and Greece and several of her later paintings were of scenes from these countries.
Elaine is survived by her children: Joyce Elaine Champion of Salt Lake City, Barbara Ellen Nilson of St. George, Janet Elyse Zelnick of Troy, Ohio, and David Alan Champion of Lebanon, Oregon; 21 grandchildren; and 22 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by two of her sons: Frank Gilbert Champion, Jr. (Frankie) and Robert Scott Champion; and her husband, Frank.
- Funeral services will be held Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 at 2 p.m. at the Metcalf Mortuary Chapel, 288 W. St. George Boulevard, St. George.
- A visitation will be held Thursday, prior to services, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the mortuary.
- Interment will be in the St. George City Cemetery.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Metcalf Mortuary, 435-673-4221.
For condolences, full obituary and funeral listings please visit Metcalf Mortuary online.