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In Memory of
James Elbert Heflin
October 13, 1930 - July 18, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Weaver Mortuary Inc. of Williamson WV

Thursday, July 24, 2014
Weaver Mortuary of Williamson, WV

Long Point Cemetery at Walkersville, WV,

James Elbert "Champ" Heflin
Oct. 13, 1930
Jane Lew
Lewis County
West Virginia, USA
Death: Jul. 18, 2014
Mingo County
West Virginia, USA

Retired West Virginia State Police Sergeant and United States Marine Corps veteran James Elbert “Champ” Heflin, 83, of Williamson, passed away suddenly on Friday, July 18, 2014, at Williamson Memorial Hospital.

He had been in declining health for some time, but his sudden transfer from this life to eternity on Friday was completely unexpected. While our hearts grieve the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend, we are not without comfort, for we have by faith the knowledge and full assurance that Champ’s final assignment is Heaven, where he will rest from his labors of preserving, protecting and defending the rights and privileges of the people of the great state of West Virginia.

He fully dedicated himself to his chosen profession of law enforcement. He was the living embodiment of everything a West Virginia State Trooper is sworn to be and do.

Champ was born in Jane Lew, Lewis County, WV, on October 13, 1930, a son of the late Lebbous Elbert Heflin and Opie Dove Talbot Heflin.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his older brother, Eugene Heflin and his younger brother, Bernard Brooks Heflin, who passed away on April 19, 2014, a sister-in-law, Leona Heflin and a brother-in-law, Paul Skeeles.

He was a graduate of Doddridge County High School where he was a standout athlete. He excelled so in football that he earned a starting position as a tight end on the varsity football team his freshman year.

He was inducted in the United States Marine Corps on February 6, 1952, serving his country with honor, courage and commitment. He was honorably discharged on January 15, 1956.

He enlisted in the West Virginia State Police on March 26, 1956. During his distinguished career he served and protected the people of Kanawha, Fayette, Raleigh, McDowell, Wyoming, Mingo and Logan counties.

He earned the nickname, “Champ,” when he was a very young trooper stationed at Welch, (1958-1966) McDowell County. He was under the command of a hard driving corporal by the name of B. H. Cassell. Cpl. Cassell quickly realized that this young trooper had an incredible work ethic and possessed exceptional investigative skills. No matter the situation, location within the county, time of day, or night, when he needed the young trooper, Cassell’s command was: “Take care of it Champ.” He was known as Champ to fellow troopers and other law enforcement officials throughout his career. Long after his retirement, officers and friends continued to address him as Champ.

It was during the years that he was stationed at Welch that he honed his skills as an investigator. As a young trooper he traveled the rugged hills, hollows and winding roads of McDowell County, investigating countless robberies, auto accidents, larcenies, home invasions, murders and other crimes.

He spent an enormous amount of time investigating copper theft at the now historic US Steel Mining operation in Gary Hollow. He was the trooper who delivered the large cash payroll to the mining operation on a regular basis.

Of historical note is the fact that Champ was the trooper who transported into McDowell County the first food stamps that were a fulfillment of a campaign promise made in West Virginia by President John F. Kennedy.

Kennedy’s first Executive Order called for expanded food stamp distribution and, on February 2, 1961, he announced that a food stamp pilot program would be initiated, on May 29, 1961, a family of 15, living in Paynesville, McDowell County, WV, were the first food stamp recipients of that program. They purchased a can of pork and beans at Henderson’s Supermarket.

He was the commander of the Pineville Detachment from 1966 to 1972 and the Williamson Detachment from 1972 to 1978. He concluded his career as a Sergeant with Troop 5, Logan, in May of 1978, following a serious illness.

Champ married Rosa Burnside of Fayette County, WV. They started their family while stationed in Welch. They became the parents of three daughters and one son.

Champ was a devoted husband and father. Obsessive about the safety and welfare of his family, he taught his children to be strong little troopers whom he would see grow to become responsible adults. He wasn’t always easy to please, but he was always passionate about the character of his children and he instilled in each of them the value of work, family devotion, respect for self and others. He taught his children to think independently and follow their own conscious and not that of others and to step forward and assist at every opportunity. He carried forth that same expectation of his grandchildren.

Always the protective father, just two days before his death he was inspecting the fluids in the new vehicle of his daughter, Angie. He was not satisfied that everything was alright because the vehicle was new. He had to inspect it himself to make that determination.

He was a critical thinker. There was never a time that you just talked to Champ, every conversation contained a lesson and concluded with a new life skill or knowledge gained on any number of topics.

Champ was an affectionate and loving, hands-on-father and he was constantly concerned about the health and wellbeing of his wife, Rose, who is recovering from a serious recent illness.

His pats, hugs and kisses will be sorely missed.

After his retirement from the West Virginia State Police he was involved in security work and served for several years as the Municipal Judge for the City of Williamson.

He was a member of the National Rifle Association and was selected as NRA Member of the Year several times in recognition of his work to protect the Second Amendment.

He was an outstanding marksman, teaching his children and grandchildren the proper use and enjoyment of firearms. He enjoyed skeet shooting and target practice with his children, grandchildren and sons-in-law.

Champ was a devout Christian and a member of Cooper Memorial Baptist Church where he taught an adult Sunday school class for a number of years and served as a lay speaker. He studied the Bible for more than 50 years and literally wore his Bible out. He would never accept a new Bible although his did fall apart from so many years of use.

Champ lived an amazing life during an amazing era of time. He touched and saved countless lives during his career as a West Virginia State Trooper. He touched the lives of his wife, Rose, his children, his children’s friends, his grandchildren, and their friends, and he would most certainly have touched the life of his unborn great-granddaughter, Charlotte Brooke Weaver, due to be born in December of this year. While we sorrow that his official seat at our family table will be empty at Christmas this year, we look forward to the blessing of this new life and carrying on his legacy of love and devotion.

Champ is survived by his beloved wife of 56 years, Rosa Jane Burnside Heflin; his children, Denise Heflin-Peyton of Charleston, Jamie and her husband, John E. Weaver of Williamson, J. B. and his wife, Lisa Heflin of Williamson and Angela and her husband, Mickey McKnight of Thomasville, NC; his grandchildren, Daniel Matthew Heflin, currently a law student at the Appalachian School of Law, Grundy, VA, Jonathan James Hampton Weaver, a law enforcement officer with the Charleston City Police Department, and his wife, Brittany, Charleston, Alexis Victoria Brooke Weaver, a junior at West Virginia University, Morgantown and Grace Lauren Rose Peyton, a senior at Capitol High School, Charleston; two sisters, Dora Lee Skeeles, Canton, OH, Mary Lou and her husband, Bill Randolph of Lost Creek, a sister-in-law, Delores Heflin of Weirton; a very special daughter of the heart, Edie McCoy of Fort Knox, KY; two brothers-in-law, Douglas and Justin Dale Burnside of Scarbro; several nieces and nephews whom he loved and enjoyed so very much. He is also survived by a host of loving friends who enriched his life and for whom he was always concerned.

Champ is and will be sorely missed, but will never be forgotten.

Visitation is from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Wednesday evening, July 23, 2014, at Weaver Mortuary in Williamson, under watch of the West Virginia State Police Honor Guard.

Funeral services will be conducted at 11:00 am, Thursday, July 24, at the mortuary. The Reverend Ron Sanger will officiate. Burial will be in the Long Point Cemetery at Walkersville, WV, where Champ will be buried beside his father.

West Virginia State Troopers will serve as pallbearers.

Military Rites will be presented at the graveside by the Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 141, of Belfry, Kentucky.

The Heflin children extend their sincere appreciation to Colonel C. P. “Jay” Smithers, Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police, 1st Sgt. Andy Perdue, Tpr. Jeff Matheney, and Tpr. Jimmy Dean for their help and assistance in coordinating the State Police Honor Guard, escort and security. It is of great comfort to us that you are watching over us at this time, and most especially our mother.

You may express online condolences at

Weaver Mortuary of West Williamson is serving the Heflin family.

Fly high, Champ!