Gerald “Jerry” Payne, family man and U.S. veteran, dies at 69
Jerry Payne, whose greatest joy was his larger-than-life family, died of cancer on August 6, 2017. He was 69.
Jerry was raised in a two-bedroom house in the tiny town of Lingo, so small it can’t boast of even one stoplight. The middle child among 11 other brothers and sisters, Jerry was the son of Georgia Fern Edie Payne and Jessey Payne, an engineer on the Sante Fe railroad.
Like his three older brothers, Jerry joined the military in 1966 and served three years in the U.S. Army, mostly during the Vietnam war.
His wife of nearly 50 years, Carol Joiner Payne of Turney, says he loved puttering around his 50-acre property on his two John Deere tractors and doting on his German Shepherd Allie, whom he called his Little Lady.
Jerry had a dry sense of humor and gentle directness he often used for a laugh or to help others see things in a new way.“He always tried to lighten the mood and joke with people, even though his jokes were not always PC,” says his daughter Tammy of Kansas City. He always tried to make people feel at ease.”
He cared deeply for all members of his family and was always willing to help. “If he had the money, time or resources, he gave them freely,” Carol says.
“He was the most generous person I have ever met,” Tammy says. “He didn’t take a vacation the entire time I was in college – six years! And he cashed in all those vacation days to help pay for it.”
In addition to life lessons, he taught more than a dozen nieces and nephews to water ski, and he and Carol often hosted them at their home for a week during the summer. More than that, he gave them individual attention in a family so large it was easy to get lost. “He gave us the most important gift you can give a child,” says niece Kathryn Stroppel of Oregon. “He encouraged us. He made you want to be better.”
“He always made me feel important and always asked me how I was and what I was doing. He always took an interest,” says niece Brandi Backus of Macon.
“I can’t remember a time he didn’t have a smile and hug, as well as words of encouragement for me,” says niece Donna Bunton Thomas of Anabel. “I love that he made my children feel as special as he made me feel. I feel so very blessed to have had him in my life. I don’t know of many who loved his family more.”
Jerry is remembered as a tall, patient, self-made man with a wonderfully crooked smile who exhibited honor and integrity and who loved baseball, electronics and the latest technology, which he enjoyed putting to use to research anything that needed more careful examination, from retail purchases to advice from physicians. And he equally enjoyed sharing that knowledge.
“All through my life he was there teaching,” says his sister Linda Bunton of Macon. “There always had to be an answer to every question.”
Jerry was a lifelong member of the VFW, DAV, NRA, American Legion Post 57 and Vietnam Veterans of America and helped numerous veterans apply for earned benefits.
Surviving are Jerry’s wife, Carol; daughter Tammy Payne of Kansas City; daughter Cindy Payne Gooding and husband Danny Gooding of Lawson; granddaughters Ashley Rulon and husband Seth Rulon of Smithville and Amber Catchthebear No Heart and husband Dylan Catchthebear No Heart of Platte City; Shelby Gooding of Lawson; grandson Dillon Gooding of Lawson; brothers David Payne of Kansas City, Randy Payne of Lingo, and Bill Payne and John Payne of Macon; sisters Linda Bunton and Shirley Rufener of Macon and Margaret Bromley of Las Vegas; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends. Both of his parents, his 3-month-old granddaughter, Annalise, and four siblings – Phyllis Jones, Norma Payne, Larry Payne and Jessey Wayne – preceded him in death.
A memorial service will be held from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17, at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty, Mo. The graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 18, at Jacksonsville Veterans Cemetery.