Howard Wall “Champ” Covington, Jr. died peacefully on March 21, 2015 in Greenville, South Carolina, at the age of 70. Born on September 29, 1944 and weighing 10 pounds, Champ lived up to his nickname throughout his life. He championed many causes, had a passion for the underdog, and served family and friends with heartfelt kindness. Champ helped people in a multitude of ways without ever seeking attention for it. While he accomplished many great things both personally and professionally, his family will most remember the way he made others feel loved and appreciated, no matter their age, race, or social status.Champ graduated from Davidson College in 1966.
During his Junior year, he met his lifelong love, Imogene “Gene” Hill Covington, and they married on August 27, 1966. They raised three children and built a happy life in Greenville, SC. Champ had a wonderful sense of humor, was the snazziest dresser this side of the Mississippi River, and danced in a way that made everyone around him smile and join in.Champ loved worshipping at Westminster Presbyterian Church, playing golf, spoiling his pets, and nurturing meaningful friendships with people all over the world.
He will be missed by many, but his legacy will live on in the lives of his children and grandchildren, who were blessed by his wisdom, his wit, his free expression of love, his optimism, and his ability to overcome adversity.
His mantra to the end was, “No whining.”Champ’s most notable achievements include founding Thornblade Club in Greenville, SC, Champion Hills in Hendersonville, NC, and Windsor Company in Greenville, SC, which later became Windsor/Aughtry Company. Champ chaired the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, the SC State Infrastructure Bank and, with his wife, the 2003 United Way Campaign.
He served on the Boards of St. Francis Hospital, the Greenville Hospital Foundation, and the Davidson College Board of Trustees. Champ was honored to receive meaningful awards, including two Orders of the Palmetto from Governor Beasley (1996 and 1998), the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Humanitarian Award from the Urban League of the Upstate (1999), and the Davidson College John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service (2001).Champ delighted in giving nicknames to many he loved; we would like to acknowledge those here in his memory.
He is survived by his wife, Imogene Hill Covington (“Poodle”), and their three children: Elizabeth Ashley Covington (“Rooney”), Cameron Covington Mackie (“Slam Bam”), and Howard Wall “Champ” Covington III (“Scamp”). Also surviving are his son-in-law, Collin DeForest Mackie, and six grandchildren: Reeves and Chas Major, Clare and Drew Mackie, and Straton and Wyatt Covington.
Champ is also survived by his beloved sisters, Eleanor Covington Devens (“Bobo”) of Boston, Massachusetts, and Ross Covington Fischer (“Moosie”) of Atlanta, Georgia, as well as their spouses, Bob Devens and John Fischer; sisters-in-law, Claudia Carter Covington of Brevard, North Carolina, and Katharine Hill Townsend of Lovingston, Virginia; and brother-in-law, William Roland Hill III of Richmond, Virginia; along with six nephews and four nieces.
Finally, Champ enjoyed a very special relationship with, and is survived by, Gene’s first cousin, Sarah Yuille Clarke and her husband, William Walton Clarke of Atlanta, Georgia.Champ was predeceased by his parents, Howard Wall Covington and Barbara Watson Covington of Greensboro, North Carolina, and his brother and very best friend, George Carruthers Covington of Charlotte, North Carolina.
The family will celebrate Champ’s life and resurrection at a memorial service on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 3:00 PM at Westminster Presbyterian Church, located at 2310 Augusta Road in Greenville, South Carolina. The family will visit with friends immediately following the service in the church’s Fellowship Hall.
Champ valued the loving care he received from nurses throughout his life, and in 2006 established and named an endowed fund in honor of his favorite caregiver, Gene Covington.
In lieu of flowers, his family requests that memorials be sent to the Imogene H. Covington Endowed Fund for Nursing Students at Greenville Technical Foundation at 225 South Pleasantburg Drive, Greenville, SC 29607.
Condolences may be expressed online at www.mackeymortuary.com.