A memorial ceremony honoring and remembering Paul Curtis Payne will be held 11 AM Tuesday, May 24, 2022 in the Worship Center of South Tulsa Baptist Church. Interment will be held at a private ceremony at Floral Haven. Paul’s family will receive friends and extended family members from 6-8 PM Monday at Bixby-South Tulsa Funeral Home. Paul passed away Friday evening, May 20, 2022 at Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa. He was 82.
Born January 21, 1940 in Seminole, Paul was the son of James Curtis and Letha Lou (Good) Payne. He acquired the nickname of “Sonny” in his childhood, while growing up on their small farm in the Belmont community. He attended school in the nearby town of Prague, where he participated in school activities including football and baseball. He met Melva Vaughan while in school at Prague. They started dating during their senior year of high school in 1958 and continued dating throughout their collegiate years. The two of them married on September 2, 1961 and celebrated 60 wonderful years together, demonstrating biblical love and commitment.
Paul graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1964 with a degree in drafting and technical education. Early in his career Paul and Melva lived several places throughout the country as he joined the emerging field of computing, working as a computer programmer on government defense contracts. His proudest career accomplishments were his technical contributions to the Apollo and Skylab missions with NASA in Houston. Of particular note was his involvement in the Apollo XIII mission for which he and many others were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Paul continued in a long career in IT, and retired from the City of Tulsa in 2006.
Paul and Melva moved their family to Bixby from Houston in 1976 where they lived for the next 46 years. Gentle and kind are words that would best describe Paul as a husband and father. He was continually teaching his children and grandchildren, leading them by example. Paul enjoyed vacations and time with family with many memories of water skiing, snow skiing, fishing and hunting. Paul and Melva enjoyed trips together, especially driving trips.
Paul had a sharp, analytical mind, and could build or repair most anything. He enjoyed time in his woodworking shop, building furniture for his family and special projects for the church. If anything was ever in need of repair, Paul would say, “We’ll fix it!”
Paul was a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. He experienced great spiritual growth while serving as a deacon in Houston, TX at the Sagemont Baptist Church. After moving to Bixby, Paul would continue to serve as a deacon, and longtime member of South Tulsa Baptist Church. He was involved in numerous committees and was known to offer a great deal of wisdom to the church’s leadership. Paul was not one to speak his mind often, but when he did, people listened with the greatest intent. He was grateful for many dear friendships within the body of Christ. May Paul’s memory be eternal in the hearts of all who loved him.
Surviving family include his loving wife, Melva; his daughter, Susan Anthony and her husband, Mike; his son, Curt Payne; four grandsons, Jackson Anthony and fiancé, Allie Brannan, Caleb Payne and wife, Jordan; Peter Anthony and fiancé, Hannah Perry, and Kyler Payne; two brothers, Jim Payne and his wife, Sherry; Larry Payne and his wife, Martha, and many nieces and nephews.
Paul was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Emily Armstrong.
In lieu of flowers, please direct memorial bequests to the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, 3800 N. May Avenue Oklahoma City, OK 73112 Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (obhc.org)