Thomas Edward Payne, 72, and Sandra Kay Payne, 71, of Pence Springs, WV, passed away on Monday, October 29, 2018, in a car accident on their way back from finalizing details related to their next Navy reunion and visiting their daughter and grandchildren in Maryland.
Tom was born April 1, 1946, in Detroit, MI, to Charles B. Payne and Ruth Marie Payne.
Sandy was born on November 24, 1946, in Hinton, WV, to Arthur Clinton Dodd and Charlotte Holmes Runion.
Charles and Ruth raised Tom and his younger brother, John, in Hillsdale, MI, where they attended its schools through high school. Prior to Tom's and Sandy's senior year of high school, her family moved from West Virginia to Jackson, MI. The following year, they attended Jackson Junior College, where it was love at first sight for Tom. He was the strong silent guy and she was the sparkle.
In the summer following their freshman year, the Vietnam war was looming, so Tom enlisted in the Navy and served from September 9, 1965, to September 5, 1968. He then served in the reserves from September 9, 1969, to March 31, 1971. While on leave from active duty, Tom and Sandy wed in Jackson, MI, on June 16, 1967. Tom was well regarded by his officers and shipmates. One officer described him as "a credit to the ship and Navy." After his honorable discharge and service, Tom worked for DCA in both Michigan and California.
Sandy was a patient mentor who taught school for many years acrossall levels from kindergarten to college. She loved all of the kids and remarked that she most enjoyed fourth grade, because the kids were really starting to get their sense of humor. Later on, she transitioned into administration and served as assistant principal and principal in both Hudson and Onsted, MI.
In retirement, Sandy enjoyed sharing her passion for quilting with others. Tom and Sandy enjoyed annual Navy reunion trips to various locations across the nation where they saw the sights and reminisced with fellow sailors and wives. Tom passionately researched genealogy, enjoying researching family history, uncovering forgotten family relationships, and extending the family tree back many generations. Tom and Sandy generously helped and loved others, and they received love back in return.
They were faith-filled Christians and members of the Griffith's Creek Baptist Church. They loved life, their church, their friends and family near and far, and all of the communities that they lived in over the years, including Hillsdale, Jackson, and Adrian, MI; Claremont, CA; and Alderson and Pence Springs, WV.
They are survived by their children, Susan Payne of Ellicott City, MD, and Mark Payne of Irvine, CA; two grandchildren, Jonathan and Adrian; and many cherished cousins, nephews, and nieces.
A Celebration of Life service will be conducted at Griffith Creek Baptist Church on Saturday, November 17, 2018, at 4 p.m., followed by a dinner at the church.
Online condolences may be made at Lantzfuneralhome.com.
Lantz Funeral Home in Alderson is in charge of arrangements.
Obituary originally published in the October 8, 2018 edition of The West Virginia Daily News.