Byron Gordon Payne, 92, of Tempe, AZ, was called to Heaven’s “1st Tee” the morning of April 26, 2012.
He graduated from Diamond High School in 1937 and attended Business College in Kansas City, MO, before joining the Army Air Corps on his 21st birthday in 1941. When the war started, he and his group were shipped out to China where they served under General Chennault in the Flying Tigers’ 11th Bomb Squad. Byron joined the Air Force Reserves in 1945 and was called back in to active duty twice. From the Reserves, he joined the Arizona Air National Guard (Copperheads) from which he retired in 1980, at the rank of Lt. Colonel, after proudly serving our country for over 38 years with distinction, earning two bronze stars. After WWII, Byron came to Arizona (where he could play golf all year long) and graduated, with a degree in accounting, from Arizona State College (ASU) in 1949.
He also worked for Arizona Public Service (APS) for 36 years. In 1966 he became APS’s Cochise County Division Manager, moving his family to Douglas, Arizona, where they made many dear, life-long friends. In 1974, his job led him back to Tempe, and he retired from APS in 1982. Over the years, Byron was very active in our state, and contributed a great deal to the Tempe community. He also had many years of participation and leadership in the Optimists Club, Rotary Club, and Toastmasters. Byron and Billie were members of Mesa Country Club and enjoyed golfing and traveling together all over the world. Byron was very passionate about his family, his country, and the game of golf, and led a very active and happy life. He gave his children an excellent work ethic, respect for the law and the land, and taught them to always turn out the lights.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, May 10, at 10AM, at Valley of the Sun Funeral Home, 10940 E Chandler Heights Rd, Chandler, 85248, 480-895-9232. Donations may be made, in Byron’s name, to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E Flower St, Phoenix, 85014, 602-530-6900.