Carole Sue Payne

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Carole Sue Payne (neé Burnham), 79, formerly of Blytheville, passed away peacefully in her home in Wappapello, Mo., on Jan. 15, 2024. Born on July 30, 1944, in Blytheville, Carole was the sole child of Pete and Doris Burnham. She completed her education at Blytheville High School in 1962 and later earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Education from Arkansas State College. Carole dedicated her life to educating children in Blytheville.

In 1962, Carole crossed paths with Joe Payne, who became the love of her life. They tied the knot in 1965, following Joe’s return from serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Together, they built a fulfilling life, welcoming Joel in 1968 and Jeffrey four years later in 1972.

Carole’s teaching prowess shone through during her three-year tenure at Sudbury School in Blytheville. While her boys were young, she took a brief hiatus from full-time teaching but continued to substitute at Presbyterian Christian Academy. Her career culminated with a remarkable 22-year run at Franklin Elementary School. Many of her students still remember her fondly and would stop her around town to get a hug and say thank you.

Known for warm hospitality, Carole and Joe hosted numerous gatherings in the Payne family game room when their boys were young. Later in life, their front porch became the focal point of social activities at Rockwood Point on Lake Wappapello. Carole and Joe were often surrounded by a large group of friends, enjoying the outdoors and creating a welcoming space for all. Some even suggest that as much ministry occurred on the Payne front porch as did in the small church they attended.

Carole’s generous spirit was evident as she actively participated in her husband’s gardening pursuits. She often found herself involved in packing and preserving the harvest, sharing the abundance with friends and family. Carole also contributed to her community as a member of the Blytheville Junior Auxiliary. Upon relocating to Wappapello full-time in 2021, both Carole and Joe were ordained deacons at their beloved Little Brushy Missionary Baptist Church. She applied the skills she acquired during her elementary education career to volunteer at Vacation Bible School at every church she attended. Carole frequently dedicated her time to serving meals at the church, showcasing her culinary skills in the process.

Carole is preceded in death by her loving husband of 57 years, Joe Payne, and her parents, Pete and Doris Burnham.

Carole is survived by her son, Joel Payne, and his wife, Christen (neé Ellis) of Marion; her son, Jeff Payne, and his wife, Lauren (neé Seyler) of Madison, Miss.; her grandchildren, Tiffany, and her husband Major William Thompson of San Antonio, Texas, Jeremy Payne, of Birmingham, Ala., Jake Payne, and his wife Jasmine (neé Thompson), of Brandon, Miss., and Nick Payne of Brandon, Miss. She is also survived by her six great-granddaughters, Olivia, Nora and Brynn Thompson (William and Tiffany) and Alayna Wolf, Stella and Willow Payne (Jake and Jasmine).

Visitation will be at Cobb Funeral Home in Blytheville on Friday, Jan. 19, from 1-2 p.m, followed immediately by a chapel service at Cobb Funeral Home at 2 p.m. Burial be at Dogwood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Little Brushy Missionary Baptist Church, 8348 Highway T, Wappapello, MO 63966.