William (Bill) Melvin Payne was born July 14, 1945, in Afton, Wyoming to William Harvey Payne and Marla Vilate Hoopes. They were living at Sage Valley, Idaho at the time of his birth, where Harvey was ranching. Later, they moved to Eugene, Oregon where Harvey and his brother Ralph began logging. They moved back to Afton in 1949. In 1951 they moved to Westwood, California where Bill started school. They lived in a logging camp between his third and fourth grades for a few weeks and then moved to Montgomery Creek, California. His days as a young boy were full of adventure and wonder. His dad began raising hounds and hunted every spare moment and often took Bill when he was not in school. In two years they moved to Melville, California, where he attended a school with all eight grades in one room, in the bottom of a Masonic Hall. Bill was a gentleman even then, and always took care of Louise and Pat, his sisters. That was where his love for fishing began in earnest. Every summer day was spent fishing or hunting. They moved back to Fairview, WY where he graduated from Star Valley High School. In his youth, Bill worked as a packer for the Forest Service and carried pesticide on horseback to spray for pine beetles deep in the Yellowstone Wilderness. While in high school, he began his registered Holstein dairy herd. He later graduated from Utah State with a Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science and a minor in Chemistry. While in college, he married Loretta Campbell. To this union, a daughter and son were born, Marlow and Bren. After graduating, he came back to Star Valley and worked for Ernest and Martha Brog on their family dairy farm in Freedom. After those few years, he moved to Fairview and bought a small farm. Around that time Bill and Loretta divorced. Hard times fell upon the dairy business and he had to sell his farm. He then started working for his brother Kevin in his auto body shop. Next, he worked for his good friend Kirk Mitchell doing excavation work. During this time he fell in love with Patsy McGavin Cazier and the two were married in 1991. With this marriage, he gained four more children: Heidi, Anthony, Jason, and Casey. Later in life Bill worked for Simplot Smokey Canyon Mine and retired after 25 plus years of honorable service. After his retirement, he went back to Simplot as a security guard where he worked until the time of his death.
Some of Bill’s fondest memories were spending countless precious hours with his kids and grandkids teaching them many lessons of life and fishing. There could be a whole book dedicated to Bill’s fishing adventures and the lives he has touched doing this hobby. One of his favorite adventures was his annual Alaska Fishing Trip with his son and best friends. They spent time in Ketchikan and Petersburg, Alaska bringing home crab, cod, salmon, and many people's favorite, halibut. Over the years, Bill could be found plowing snow around the neighborhood, helping with various handyman projects, and delivering thousands of fish to ecstatic neighbors. He served in several positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One being his favorite, was serving as a volunteer with Patsy in the baptistry of the Star Valley Wyoming Temple where he served religiously every Friday evening.
Bill passed from this life on March 4, 2020, from complications caused from a previous diagnosis of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. He is survived by his wife, Patsy; Children: Marlow Payne Thurman; William Bren Payne (Heather); Heidi Erickson (Mckay); Anthony Cazier (Teressa); Jason Cazier (Dyann); Casey Cazier (Elizabeth); Siblings: Louise Nield (Dan); Pat VanTassel (Boyd); Kevin Payne (Mary); 18 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Funeral services were held Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at 12:00 PM in the Afton 3rd/4th Ward Building of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William (Bill) Melvin Payne, please visit our floral store.