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To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born –
On Monday, June 22, 1942, Trustee Clarence Lewis Payne made his triumphant entry into this world at the home of his beloved grandparents, the late Thomas and Laura Payne, in Montross (Westmoreland County), Virginia. Affectionately called “Lewis” by many, he was born as the only son to the late Rachel Ann Payne Smith and the oldest son of the late John L. Baylor.
And a time to die –
Lewis made his triumphant transition to his Heavenly home, at 5:38 p.m. on Friday, May 26, 2023, at the INOVA Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria, VA.
A time to plant -
The first seeds of Lewis’ life were planted in Montross, Virginia where he was reared by his late grandparents, and subsequently by his late Aunt Ada and Uncle Robert Henry, following the death of his grandparents. As a young boy, he learned the importance of love of family, God, servitude, integrity, honesty, kindness, respect, and honest work; and these attributes were his mantra throughout life.
Reared in the Christian home of his late grandparents, serving the Lord was not an option. In his youth, as well as in his later years, he attended Siloam Baptist Church, where he made his confession of faith and belief in Jesus Christ and was baptized and served faithfully.
He was educated in the public schools of Westmoreland County. After high school, he migrated to Washington D.C. and later relocated to Suitland, Maryland where he resided for more than 40 years.
And a time to pluck up -
Immediately after relocating to Washington, D.C., he began his many professional careers, which included truck driver, limousine driver, landscaper, church sexton, to name a few. His primary place of employment was with Charles H. Tompkins Company (now Turner Construction) where he started as a driver and was promoted to the position of purchasing agent and yard foreman when he retired. Throughout his tenure at Charles H Tompkins, he paved the way and provided many job opportunities for family and friends who migrated to the DMV area. Lewis retired from Turner Construction Company in April 2016 after 40 years and 11 months of dedicated service. However, he soon realized that he was not yet suited for retirement, and after only 6 months he returned to the workforce as a driver for Greenwald Supply Direct where he worked until February 2020 when his health began to fail.
While he understood the importance of work, his true love was serving the Lord and serving people. This love was exemplified through actions. He loved the Lord and believed in decency and order in the House of God. He performed the duties of church sexton flawlessly, always on time ensuring the church was open, the lights, and the heat or AC were on and operating, restrooms were clean and stocked, etc., all in preparation for worship service.
He was an usher extraordinaire. He marched with pride and served with humility embracing the scripture “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Psalm 84:10)
He also served faithfully and meticulously in the duty of ‘Trustee’ at the Delaware Baptist Church (Washington, DC), and later at Christian Fellowship Baptist Church (Capitol Heights, MD) until his death.
His gift of servitude, however, extended beyond the walls of the church building. He was a good neighbor and a true friend. He shoveled snow for his neighbors; drove the church van to ensure members had transportation to and from worship; bought and brought food for the staff at D.C. Village during snowstorms when they could not leave, and many other acts of kindness and goodwill. He loved to serve, and all that was done was from his heart. He expected nothing in return!
A time to weep –
Lewis was preceded in death by his parents; one sister – Estelle Kohn; his cousin (who was like a brother) – Arthur Thompson; his nephew – Anthony O’Day Dixon; close friend – James Lewis Smith; and many other close relatives and friends.
And a time to laugh -
Lewis, aka “Jitter” had an infectious laugh, and a smile that would light up the darkest of places. His love for family was beyond measure. He was a superb dad to his daughters, and an outstanding father figure to many others; but the pride of his life was his baby girl Lamika, whom he reared and nurtured in the same love for God and mankind that he embodied. She, in turn, served, nurtured, and cared for him every day before and throughout his illness. They were ‘two peas in a pod’; you didn’t see one without the other!
His role as protector, encourager, and provider extended beyond his children to his siblings, other family members and friends also. If you needed something and he had it, it was yours!
A time to mourn -
Though we mourn, we do not do so as the world for we know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
Lewis leaves to mourn his loss: three daughters - Joyce (Jerome) Ward, Cheryl Stevenson, and Lamika Payne; three granddaughters – Jasmine (Jeremy) Ramalia; Janae Ward; and Tierra Mackey; one adopted granddaughter – Breanna McNeill; one great granddaughter– Charlie-Love; six sisters – Gladys Reed; Hazel Walker, Lorena Briscoe, Rilla (Frank) Gaither; Illaina Baylor, and Colleen (James) Smith; one brother – John (Adrienne) Baylor, Jr.; a special cousin, Albert Henry, who was like a brother; a devoted special friend and companion – Carolyn Tate; Terry McPherson, Ricardo “Manny” Renfroe, Tyisha Rich, and Tisa Henry whom he adopted as his own children; two nieces who held a special place in his heart – Helen Johnson and Jabrea Kohn, and a host of other nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Also, left to mourn his loss are other family and friends who served as dedicated caretakers throughout his illness: Sheryl Butler, Tawauna Gaither-Hill, Shamia Haggins, Carolyn Thompson, Theresa Thompson, Krystal Waiters, and Frank Gaither; the Promedica Health Paliative Care Team; the Visiting Nurses Association, and Mr. C. L. Branch of Medical Transportation Services, Largo, MD.
A time to dance –
Jitter enjoyed ‘cutting a rug’ (dancing) for the Lord and with his late sister, Estelle. We can dance today as we celebrate the life and legacy of Trustee Clarence Lewis Payne (aka – Jitter, Lew the Jew, Uncle Lew, & Pop-Pop), a man who understood the purpose of human life is to love, to serve, to show compassion and to help others.
“The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.” Lewis’ legacy of love, kindness and servitude shall live on in the hearts and minds of his loved ones forever.
Services of Remembrance for Clarence Lewis Payne will be held on Saturday, June 10 at 12 Noon in the sanctuary of Galilee Baptist Church, 20461 Kings Highway, Montross, Virginia.
Interment will be on Monday, June 12 in the Cedar Hill Cemetery, 4111 Pennsylvania Ave, Hillcrest Heights, Md. 20746.
Viewing will take place on Friday, June 9 from 6PM until 830PM in the sanctuary of the New Grove Missionary Baptist Church, 4242 Benning Road, NE, Washington DC 20019. and from 10AM until service time on Saturday, June 10 at the Galilee Baptist Church.