Horace Champagne married Mary Catherine Ford in St. Charles Parish in 1923. Between 1923 and 1949 the couple went on to have 14 children, 12 of whom served their country as members of various branches of the United States armed services.
The combined service of Horace and Mary Catherine’s children distinguished the Champagne family this month as the most military family in America by the Louisiana State Legislature.
“The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs researched the historic records of military families throughout the United States and could not find another family with more siblings that served their country than the Champagnes,” the resolution states. “Therefore, be it resolved that on behalf of a grateful state and nation, the House of Representatives of the Legislature of Louisiana does hereby commend the Champagne family of St. Charles Parish for its patriotism and commitment to duty as the most military family in America.”
Charles “Chucky” Champagne Jr. – one of Horace and Mary Catherine’s grandsons – is currently serving in the Navy. He said he was shocked when he learned about the resolution.
“I was kind of astounded,” he said. “It was something I had never thought before. It was kind of shock to me … it kind of makes you proud, you know?”
The Champagnes had 11 sons and one daughter who served in the armed forces.
Their oldest son, Harold J. Champagne, served in the United States Navy during World War II and participated in six Allied Forces landings in the Pacific Theater under the direction of General Douglas MacArthur. He passed away in 2011.
Pearl Champagne Lauret, Horace and Mary Catherine’s daughter and second oldest child, served in the United States Naval Reserve (Women’s Reserve) – better known as the WAVES – as a Navy nurse during World War II. She was their only daughter to serve, and passed away in 2018.
The couple’s third oldest child, son Alvin Peter “Champ” Champagne, served in the United States Army beginning in 1945 aboard an Army hospital ship. He passed away in 2015.
The Champagne’s son Morris Joseph “Chippy” Champagne served in the United States Marine Corps with the 38th Infantry Regiment in the American Zone of Occupied Germany and in Korea during the Korean Conflict. He was killed in action at the Battle of Hoengsoeng in South Korea in February of 1951 after being called back to serve after he left the service. He was the Champagne’s only son killed in combat.
Another son, Johnny Anthony Champagne, served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean Conflict passed away in 2017, while son Jerry Charles Champagne served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean Conflict and was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. He passed away in 2019.
Horace and Mary Catherine’s seventh son, Horace Joseph Champagne Jr., served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean Conflict and was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. He resides in Luling. One of his own sons, Scotty Champagne, also joined the Marine Corps and left as a Gunnery Sargent.
The couple’s eight son, Charles James Champagne, served in the United States Marine Corps from 1955 through 1957 and resides in Picayune, Mississippi. He had two sons who served in the Navy – Ricky Champagne, 3rd Class Petty Officer, and Chuck Champagne, Commissioned Officer LCDR.
The Champagne’s son Ronald Joseph Champagne served in the United States Navy from 1960 through 1962, while their son David Joseph Champagne served in the United States Army during the Vietnam Conflict from 1962 through 1964. They both reside in Luling.
David had one of his sons, Chad Champagne, who served and retired as a Senior Master Sargent in the Airforce.
The Champagne’s son Anthony Raymond Champagne served in the United States Army during the Vietnam Conflict from 1963 through 1965. He resides in Bayou Gauche. He had one son, Tony Champagne Jr., that served in the Navy.
Thomas Eugene Champagne, Horace and Mary Catherin’s son, served in the United States Army during the Vietnam Conflict, was stationed in Germany and now resides in Luling. He had one son that served in the Navy – Tony Champagne Jr.
A copy of the resolution was given to all living children of Horace and Mary Catherine in Baton Rouge last week. St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne, who is the son Jerry, one of Horace and Mary Catherin’s sons, was also in attendance.