Mary Geraldine "Gerri" Payne

Obituary of Mary Geraldine "Gerri" Payne

Mary Geraldine “Gerri” Payne, 90, passed away on December 30, 2021 at the Lagniappe Healthcare Skilled Nursing Facility in Bastrop, La. Born to Walter Clyde and Faye C. Whittle on August 13, 1931, she spent her early years in Crosby County with her parents and brother Clyde Cleo Whittle (1928-2021). Her father, a farmer, raised cotton and milo and other crops, and had chickens and cattle. She and her brother had plenty of farm chores including collecting eggs and accompanying her folks to Floydada once each week to sell the milk and cream from their cows. During the height of the Great Depression the family bartered eggs and farm produce for needed services including that of a local M.D. Both she and her brother Cleo made Jesus Lord & Savior of their lives during a rival meeting at the Mt. Blanco Baptist Church, and were subsequently baptized in a lake next to the church. After completing high school, Gerri took up working for a chiropractor in Floydada and then clerked at a local drug store. It was here she met (Walter) Wade Payne (FHS Class of 1948). Following a brief courtship, they were married and moved to Post (Texas) where Wade assumed the role of telegrapher for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Later they relocated to Lubbock and, in August 1955 she and Wade welcomed a son, Anthony, into the world followed by a girl, Cindy, in October 1958. Being a devoted wife and mother, Gerri encouraged and supported Wade as his career in accounting and computer programming took them and their children from Lubbock to Abilene in 1962, to Nashville (Tennessee) in 1964, and to Alexandria (Louisiana) in 1965. In Alexandria Gerri and family became part of the community of believers at Horseshoe Drive Baptist Church. While here Gerri started HDBC’s children’s church which she helped mold and shape well into the 1970s. In 1976 she and Wade left HDBC and began attending a spirit-filled worship center in downtown Alexandria. During this time, she became an enthusiastic supporter of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and Regent University. In the mid-1980s Gerri and Wade moved to Shreveport (Louisiana) then Marshal, Texas. In 1989 they moved to Amarillo, Texas. Following the death of Wade in June 1992, Gerri made her way to Bastrop, Louisiana where her daughter Cindy and son-in-law Ronnie Keene live. In addition to her strong Christian faith and conservative values, Gerri was also a proud tribal member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. She is survived by her children, Cindy Keene and her husband Ronnie Keene of Bastrop, Louisiana, and Dr. Anthony G. Payne and his wife Dr. Sachi Payne nee Tsujii, of Mission Viejo, California, plus nephews Mark, Dennis and West Whittle and their wives and children and grandchildren. Gerri will be interred next to her late husband and parents in Parklawn Memorial Gardens south of Plainview (Texas) at a future date to be announced.
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Mary Geraldine "Gerri"