Robert Leslie Payne, 83, of Mesa, Ariz. died Feb. 23, 2008. He was born Feb. 11, 1925, in Virden, N.M. to Leslie Buchanan Payne and Evalina Whipple. He spent his early life in Virden and graduated from Virden High School in 1943.
Like so many of his generation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in the Philippines during World War II. He was discharged in May 1946.
On May 31, 1946, he married Audrey Lunt in the Mesa Arizona Temple. They moved to Mesa in 1951 where they raised six children, all graduates of Mesa High School.
He worked for the United States post office, retiring after 30 years of service in 1981. He was an avid beekeeper, sharing his honey with family and friends.
Following retirement, he moved to Pine, Ariz. where he spent his time gardening, growing fruit, doing woodwork and serving the people of Pine.
In 1988 he and Audrey served a mission in the Sydney, Australia Temple. He was a lifetime, active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and served in many church callings. These included mission leader, ward financial clerk, bishop of the Pine Ward, and a sealer in both the Australia and Arizona Temples.
He is survived by his loving companion of 61 years, Audrey Lunt Payne; his six children, Caren Payne of Gilbert, Ariz., Beverly Ross (Wayne) of Chandler, Ariz., Calvin Payne (Jane) of Moses Lake, Wash., Orpha Luke (Fred) of Gilbert, Ariz., Wendell Payne (Tammy) of Pine and Charlotte Richardson (Jay) of Westerville, Ohio. Also surviving are 28 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother Dean and sisters, Vilda Johnson and Carol Warburton. He was preceded in death by a brother, Ray Payne, sister, Ione Jones, and a grandson, Adam Araiza.
Visitation will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28 at Allen's Funeral Home, 1130 S. Horne, Mesa. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 29 at the Mesa Kimball East Stake Center, 4640 E. Holmes, with visitation one hour prior. Interment will be Saturday, March 1 at the Virden Cemetery.