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December 15, 2012

Nancy Champion Lanza remembered as a bubbly, caring person by those who knew her

Champion mother, siblings offer Newtown families condolences

KINGSTON, N.H. — Nancy Champion Lanza went to the same elementary school, Daniel J. Bakie Elementary, where her mother worked as a nurse.

Nancy’s children Ryan and Adam would have been in line to go there, too. But then Nancy and Peter Lanza, a Haverhill, Mass., native, moved with their children from Kingston in 1998, when the boys were 10 and 6.

Nancy Lanza, 52, a 1978 graduate of Sanborn Regional High School, was one of 27 killed in the Newtown, Conn., massacre Friday. Her younger son Adam, 20, is believed to be the shooter who killed her, 20 young children, six adults and himself.

“On behalf of Nancy’s mother and siblings, we reach out to the community of Newtown and express our heartfelt sorrow for the incomprehensible and profound loss of innocence that has affected so many,” said Rockingham County Sheriff Michael Downing, reading a statement from the Champion family here last night.

In this tiny hamlet, the personal connections to the tragic shootings in Newtown are everywhere. Police Chief Donald Briggs Jr., knew Nancy from school, he said. Her brother, James Champion, was a longtime police officer in Kingston, where he earned the rank of captain and retired in November 2011, Briggs said. Many alumni from the Sanborn class of 1978 still live in the area, either here or in Plaistow.

The Champions’ mother, Dorothy, was a nurse at Bakie and in Exeter for 30 years. While the Lanzas lived in Kingston, Briggs said Nancy Lanza was a stay at home mother who took care of the boys, but worked at least part time for John Hancock as a stock broker. They lived on a six-acre Champion family plot, which Nancy acquired from her mother in 1987, less than a mile from the common and Town Hall.

“She was a wonderful, caring, bubbly person,” Briggs said of Nancy Lanza. “Heart of gold.”

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