Mary Payne NOV. 27, 1940 - NOV. 4, 2022
Autumn was Mary Payne’s favorite time of the year. On November 4, 2022, when the trees were still holding their red and yellow leaves, she passed away of natural causes in Ontario, Oregon, surrounded by her loving family. She was 81.
Mary Margaret Long was born on November 27, 1940, in North Plains, Oregon, the oldest of seven children in the family of Clyde and Ione Long. When she was five, the family moved to Vale where she lived for the rest of her life. After graduating from high school in 1959 she married Scottie Payne, who had grown up on a farm just a mile down the road. The marriage lasted for 63 years. In high school, Scottie ran the mile and held a record in that distance for many years. But Mary was always skeptical: “I don’t think he ran as fast as everybody says. Caught him, didn’t I?”
For 55 years, Mary and Scottie ran a dairy farm, Vale View Farm, where they raised their four children: Jeff, Julie, Kathy and Chris. They showed registered Guernsey cows at the Malheur County Fair, the Payette County Fair, the Idaho State Fair, and the National Guernsey Show, garnering innumerable prizes. Mary fed and raised the calves, worked with the kids on their 4-H dairy projects, and shuttled them to music and sports activities at school. For many years she was active in the Malheur County Dairy Wives, organizing the annual Dairy Princess contest, managing the Dairy Bar at the county fair, and promoting dairy products.
The home was filled with music and books. Mary loved to sing and had been blessed with a beautiful voice. “Life without music is a mistake,” was a quote she repeated often. The kids sang and learned to play multiple instruments, so the house sometimes sounded like a band rehearsal run wild. Mary had learned to sew as a child. She became a remarkable seamstress and sewing remained a lifelong passion. She led a 4-H sewing club for 8 years, sewed clothes for all of her children and grandchildren, and taught her daughters and a granddaughter to sew. She sewed Halloween costumes, band and choir outfits, doll clothes, home décor items, and countless gifts for family and friends.
As the kids left the nest, Mary turned her energies towards helping her community. She worked for TVCC as a community schools coordinator, mentoring students studying to complete GEDs. She worked as a teacher’s aide in the Vale school district, assisting students with disabilities in their classes and school activities. She worked for the Vale Chamber of Commerce, organizing the town’s annual July 4th parade.
In her later years, Mary created a series of scrapbooks commemorating the things closest to her heart: her family, her grandchildren, and the farm. She organized and mounted hundreds of photographs in elegant scrapbooks, identifying the names, dates and locations in flawless Palmer-method handwriting. She added all kinds of documents to bring alive the people and scenes in the photos. The scrapbooks, numbering almost two dozen, show the boundless love and caring that Mary brought to everyone
Mary was a long-time member of the Malheur Butte Baptist Church. She knew many hymns by heart and loved to sing them. As a child in church, she and her siblings would compete to see who could sing the most hymns without cracking open a hymnal to look at the words. Even when her voice lost its strength as she grew older, she still sang the old hymns with all of her heart. Her church family, particularly Stan and Sharon Hawkins, provided support and fellowship that she cherished.
Mary is survived by her husband, Scottie, and their four children and their families: Jeff Payne and John LaVeille; Julie Payne and Guy Nunez, and Julie’s children, Ayrton and Anne, and Anne’s daughter, Loretta; Kathy and Jay Beckman, and their children, Haylie and McKenna; Chris and Darci Payne, and their children, Boston, Brock and Brogan. She is survived by one sister, Marva, and three brothers, Larry, Rod and CW, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers, David and Richard, and a grandson, Brett.
A funeral service will be held at the Malheur Butte Baptist Church on November 12, 2022, at 11:00 a.m.