Rural 05


John A. Payne

June 25, 1942 ~ November 16, 2018 (age 76)

John Anderson Payne, 76,  of Shelburne, Massachusetts passed away on November 16, 2018 at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA after a lengthy illness.

He was born on June 25, 1942 in New York City to Samuel Burton Payne, Sr.  of Greenfield, MA and Jeanette Hooker Payne of Rochester, NY. The Paynes came to love the Shelburne area, and bought a farm from the Andrews brothers in the early 1940’s, with the dream of improving it and turning it into a working Black Angus farm

John grew up coming to the farm on weekends and summers, loving the land, and especially the trees and the Black Angus. He thoroughly enjoyed all the challenging jobs needed to keep a farm well-managed and growing, and spent as much time as possible there.

John graduated high school from the Millbrook School, Millbrook, NY  in 1960, and  then completed a post-graduate year at Deerfield Academy before attending St. Lawrence University where he graduated in 1965. John earned his MBA from New York University in 1968.  He went on to serve in the Peace Corps in India from 1968 -1969.  While stationed in India he met and fell in love with Margaret Gatter of Philadelphia, PA.  The two were married on June 15, 1969 and settled in Hopewell, NJ where they began their family and  John started commuting to a position with JP Morgan in New York City. During the course of his 33 years with Morgan, John occupied a variety of positions, leading to a Vice Presidency and a special assignment to oversee the development of gender and racial diversity within the firm.

During his tenure at J. P. Morgan, John and his family  spent four years (1974 - 1978) in Lagos, Nigeria. John was the founder and Managing Director of IKON, a merchant bank established in partnership with Baring Brothers of London. Upon his return to the United States, the Paynes settled in Princeton, NJ where they raised their four children and John re-established his commute into Manhattan while getting away to the farm as often as possible.

John’s passion for ice hockey continued from his school years. He served as coach and cheerleader for three of his own children, and volunteered for many years as coach of the women’s ice hockey team of Stuart Country Day School in Princeton, NJ. He continued to play ice hockey after his retirement twice a week here in MA until recent months, finding good exercise, good competition and great friends.

In 1999, John chose early retirement in order finally to live and work full time at Foxbard Farm. Over the next almost twenty years, John devoted himself to farming and forestry, increasing the size of the farm and the herd, and adding a sawmill operation. He also volunteered each week at the Whately Livestock Auction. He said repeatedly that he felt like the luckiest guy in the world to wake up every morning on the farm. John was also a devoted  and tireless worker in the Shelburne community, serving two terms as Selectman, and also on the School Committee and Finance Committee. He had an avid interest in agricultural land restriction, and conservation, working steadily until his last days to try to assure that Shelburne would retain its rural spaces and  beauty, while welcoming new residents,  and especially hoping for more new farmers.

John is survived by his beloved wife Margaret, his daughters Helen Watt and Tara Hendricks; sons John II and Ben; granddaughters Alexandra, Abigail, and Madeline; and grandsons Jesse and Samuel as well as his brothers Samuel B. Payne, Jr. of Canandaigua, NY, Herbert H. Payne of New York, NY, and sister Caroline Kotonias-Payne of Canandaigua, NY. A service will be held at the First Congregational Church of Shelburne at 1pm Friday November 23rd.

In lieu of flowers, John requested that any donations be sent to an endowment fund established by him and his wife entitled the “I Have a Dream Fund”, whose goal is “to provide financial resources to those who long for an end to racism, and increase understanding across cultural barriers.”

Checks may be made out to ‘The New England Synod of the ELCA’, 20 Upland Street, Worcester, MA 01607. Please write “I Have a Dream” on the memo line.





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