John Bernard Champeau

March 3, 1947 - December 2, 2023

03/03/1947 - 12/02/2023

Past Services

Memorial Mass
Tuesday December 19, 2023
12:00 pm
Church of the Ascension Catholic Church
4853 Princess Anne Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23462
757-495-1886 | Directions

John Bernard Champeau, a beloved father, grandfather, and retired lieutenant colonel in the United States Marine Corps, passed away peacefully on December 2, 2023, at the age of 76. Born on March 3, 1947, in New York, New York, John’s vibrant spirit touched the lives of those fortunate enough to know him.

Throughout his life, John exemplified the values of dedication, courage, and loyalty. His 22-year career in the Marine Corps was marked by countless acts of service and bravery. As a testament to his heroism, John was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat “V” for his exceptional valor in Vietnam, where he selflessly put his life on the line for his fellow soldiers. He received numerous other medals and awards that reflected his commitment to protecting and serving his country.

Beyond his military accomplishments, John was a man of diverse interests and passions. He cherished his identity as a Marine for life, always carrying the values instilled in him throughout his entire existence. Golfing with his buddies brought him joy and relaxation, while his heart danced to the rhythms of 50-60’s rock, especially the Beach Boys and Creedence Clearwater Revival. However, nothing could compare to the delight John found in spending time with his family. Christmas, his favorite time of the year, provided the perfect opportunity for him to gather his loved ones around him and create treasured memories.

John’s commitment to faith and education was evident through his involvement with the Church of the Ascension and his proud membership in the Providence College Alumni. John is credited with reinvigorating Friar Football at the club level, a program which continued for more than 20 years. He has also supported the endowed Friends of Friar Football Scholarship Fund, still in place today.  He earned a master’s degree from the University of Southern California, further enriching his understanding and knowledge.

John will be deeply missed by his daughters, Jennae Champeau and Jayna Champeau, along with their respective partners, Amy Hasenauer and George “Sonny” Washburn IV. His grandson George “V” Washburn V, brought immeasurable joy to his life, and John’s presence will forever be embedded in his heart. He also leaves behind many extended family members and friends whose lives were positively impacted by his kindness and warmth.

A Memorial Mass celebrating John’s life will be held at the Church of the Ascension on Tuesday, December 19, starting at 12:00pm. His final resting place will be at Quantico National Cemetery, where he will be buried at a later date.

John Bernard Champeau will be remembered as a dedicated serviceman, a loving father and grandpa, and a man who lived by the principles of honor, courage, and commitment. His legacy will continue to inspire others, reminding us all to embrace life’s challenges with grace and resilience. May he find eternal peace in the embrace of his heavenly journey.

Condolences may be left online at In lieu of flowers please consider making a memorial contribution in John’s name to the “Friends of Friar Football Scholarship Fund”. Donations may be made by going to or by clicking the link “HERE”.


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David & Nancy Breininger
1 month ago

Enjoyed our time together on Okinawa, especially playing bridge. A true friend to all who knew you.

Kristine Wylie
2 months ago

My memories are filled with some beautiful images because of you. Thank you for being such a wonderful friend and loving father figure to me.

2 months ago

John was a patient in an office I worked in. It was always a pleasure to see his name on our schedule because he was so friendly and always had a story to share .Being from Michigan I asked about his Detroit Tigers baseball hat. After that he wore it all the time and told me many stories of his recruiting days in Detroit ,which included many trips to Tiger Stadium . The stories about the fat cat were great too. I never met his daughters, but he always talked fondly about them . May you find comfort in the many great memories of your dad .

Skip Schweizer
2 months ago

Fair winds and a following sea as you embark on your journey of eternal life.

Paul Cox
2 months ago

Sincere and deep condolences to Classmate and fellow Veteran.
Your rest is well earned.
Blessings to all.
Paul V. Cox – Providence College 1968

Bill Drago
2 months ago

John was a friend and fellow Friar. He served his country with great sacrifice and Providence College with true loyalty. He will be truly missed by his Fall Classic buddies. May he rest in peace.
Bill Drago

Jack Desmond
2 months ago

John was a true patriot and friend. We were friends since our days at PC until the day he died. Little did I know that as he left the Fall Classic in September 22 we would not meet again in this life. Rest easy my friend and say hello to our buddies who preceded you to your reward in paradise.

Regina Scolaro
2 months ago

I worked with your dad many years ago at Autobase. He was the quintessential gentleman and an extraordinary human. May he rest in peace.

Tonya Boulier
2 months ago

With deepest sympathy he will truly be missed!! A great friend and we will remember him fondly

Mike and Karen Hasenauer
2 months ago

Beautiful tribute! John had a wonderful smile and very kind heart! He was interested in everyone’s stories! We are honored to have known him.