It is with sadness and abiding respect that the Sheridan companies observe the passing of R. Champlin Sheridan, the founder of the Sheridan companies. On August 7th, Champ passed away quietly, surrounded by family in Vero Beach, Florida.
A Baltimore, MD native, Champ graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering, served in the Korean War, then worked for several years in his father’s printing business. He then moved to Hanover, PA to join Everybody’s Poultry Magazine Publishing Company. In 1967, he scraped together $1,000 (“all the money I had”, Champ later recounted) to buy the company, becoming president and sole stockholder. A few years later, Champ and 58 employees moved the company a few miles from the original building, and broke ground on the flagship site that remains in operation today. However, it wasn’t until 1982 that the company name officially changed to The Sheridan Press.
Champ ran The Sheridan Press until 1998, building upon and realizing his vision to create a world-class print and publishing services provider to leading scientific, technical, and medical publishers. In 1987, Champ acquired a book printing facility in Michigan, thus extending the Sheridan presence and reputation to the book publishing community and establishing the parent company, The Sheridan Group. Through additional acquisitions over the years, today the Sheridan Companies serve the needs of magazine and catalog publishers as well.
This keen sense of business and vision pervaded every area of Champ’s life, perhaps most significantly in his notable philanthropic activity. Champ and wife Debbie made substantial financial contributions to his beloved alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, in support of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library. In 1998, the Sheridan’s contributions, both monetary and in action, were recognized by the University, as JHU rededicated the library and several affiliate libraries on-campus to be known as The Sheridan Libraries. Champ also held the position of Honorary Emeritus Member of the Board of Trustees at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Champ was a generous supporter of many local organizations in Florida, including Boys and Girls Clubs of IRC, University of Florida’s Mental Health Facility, the Gifford Youth Activity Center, and the Indian River Medical Center.
Champ’s tireless support of worthy causes and organizations touched many lives, and his humble and self-effacing manner will long be remembered. “Success really is a path; it’s not a destination,” he maintained. “It’s been my continual focus that if you got up each morning and put one foot in front of the other and make your best effort, you’ll find at the end of the day that you’ve made a little progress.”
Champ is survived by his wife, Debbie, and his children: Sally, Barrett , Chip, Jon and Amy, as well as 10 grandchildren.
The Sheridan Companies will be forever grateful for his vision, leadership and determination. In tribute to Champ and his memory, all Sheridan Company flags are at half-staff.