Martin K. Payne: May 24, 1935 – Nov. 21, 2019

Martin Kershaw Payne died peacefully on Nov. 21 in Stuttgart, Germany, where he was living with his daughter and her family.

His children, Michael and Laura, were both present.

Diagnosed with prostate cancer 31 years ago at the age of 53, Martin outlived multiple forecasts and was able to participate in a variety of treatments, clinical trials and surgeries, maintaining a calm, steady and positive disposition throughout the challenge.

Martin was born on May 24, 1935 in Springfield, Mass.

An only child, he brought great joy and pride to his parents, Martin Sylvester and Mary Brown Payne. He graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. and completed graduate studies in civil engineering at both Rennselear Polytecnic Institute and the University of Illinois.

Martin moved to Birmingham, Ala. to begin his professional career with Rust Engineering, where he worked for more than 30 years.

In Birmingham, he met Helen Braswell, with whom he enjoyed 50 years of marriage. When recounting the story of how they met, he would say with amazement, “She was unlike anyone I had ever known.”

Helen preceded him in death on July 21, 2014, but the legacy of their loving, supportive relationship and warm, welcoming home lives on.

During college, Martin discovered the recorder and played all throughout his life, enjoying lasting friendships with his fellow musicians.

He was a dedicated member of book groups, loved attending concerts and theater, walking hand in hand with Helen, reading the funny pages each morning, and researching family history.

His signature recipes — including coconut flan, homemade salsa and fresh margaritas — are well known by family and friends.

Together with Helen, he traveled extensively throughout the world, with a focus on learning from the local community.

A lifelong Episcopalian, he sang in the choir and was an active member of both Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Ala., and St. Augustine’s-in-the-Woods in Freeland, Wash.

Martin was a dedicated and affectionate husband, father and grandfather.

His legacy and spirit live on within his children and grandchildren: Michael (and Jessica), Malou, Lucas and Isaac Payne and Laura (and Rich) Nico, Benjamin and Chloe Martinez.

In addition to consistent commitment to his wife Helen, his love of music and literature, his charm and sense of humor, and his kind personality will be remembered by those who knew him.

A funeral service will be held 3 p.m. Aug. 1, 2020 at St. Augustine’s-in-the-Woods, followed by a celebration of Martin’s life. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Augustine’s-in-the-Woods, the Helen B. Payne Human Rights Endowment at Indian Springs School or the Whidbey Camano Land Trust.



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