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Charles Payne

July 14, 1923 - January 30, 2017
Redford Township, MI



Friday, February 3, 2017
2:00 PM to 9:00 PM EST
Turowski Life Story Funeral Homes
Livonia, West of Middlebelt
30200 Five Mile Rd.
Livonia, MI 48154
(734) 525-9020

Rosary at 7:00 pm

Driving Directions


Saturday, February 4, 2017
10:30 AM EST
St. Valentine Catholic Church
25881 Dow St
Redford Township, MI 48239

Church is on Beech Daly.
Instate at 10:00 am until Funeral Mass


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Cardwell Florist
(734) 421-3567

Life Story / Obituary


Charles W. Payne was a man of strength and substance. Throughout his long and rewarding life, Charles filled his days in service of the ones he cherished most. With unwavering faith, Charles endured in the face of life’s greatest challenges, while cherishing each moment he shared with those he loved. A man who never shied away from hard work and whose tenacious spirit inspired all who knew him, he will be forever missed by all who were blessed to share their lives with him.

The 1920s were an age of dramatic social and political change. Post-war peace, a booming economy, rising wages for most Americans and falling consumer prices, gave rise to a higher standard of living for most. The world quickly changed with the inventions of wash machines, vacuum cleaners, the band-aid, and the first automobile with a combustion engine. Tremendous confidence, prosperity, and previously unknown comforts marked this roaring decade when a person’s success was largely determined by their ability to identify their desires and then work to make them a reality. Locally, this vibrant decade grew even brighter for Robert and Mary Payne, who on July 14th, 1923 welcomed their son Charles into their hearts and their Detroit, MI home.

Charles’ trademark toughness grew from the seeds of perseverance required growing up in Detroit during the Great Depression. While sales of automobiles plunged inspiring large-scale layoffs at all industrial enterprises the city’s financial crisis grew, as tax receipts plunged and welfare spending skyrocketed. The city defaulted on its bond payments and had to use promissory notes to pay teachers, policemen and other employees. The Great Depression devastated Detroit and threatened the spirits of those who lived there. Despite the profound challenges of the time, Charles and his parents, along with his nine sisters; Margaret, Mary, Jane, Ursula, Anne, Frances, Rita, Matilda, and Martha and two brothers; John, and Robert, drew comfort from each other’s good company. Charles discovered his capacity to endure while also finding time to enjoy the simple things in life like when the local delivery man took him for rides and affectionately dubbed the young man, “Dirty Faced Charlie”.

Charles’ teen years were spent attending St. Leo’s High School in Detroit where he also played football.

A highly prized Jitterbug contest win became one of Charles’ lifelong claims to fame. He was also quite proud of his history as a Zoot Suiter. With the suits trademark jacket arms that reached the fingertips and pants worn tight at the waist, bulging at the knees and choked at the ankles, key chain accessories that extended to the knees and a fedora-like hat with a feather attached, the fashion certainly said something about those who sported it.

After graduating high school, the long arm of WWII called upon Charles who became a PFC in the 11th Airborne Division and in the 511th Parachute Infantry with the United States Army. He jumped twice on the Philippines, once on Leyte and the second jump was on Luzon. During his proud service, Charles lived through the harrowing experience of being lost in the jungle in the Philippines without food for five long days. During the 1945 land battle of Luzon Charles suffered a grievous wound. The seriousness of the wound required surgery. Unfortunately, the only access to the help he needed was at a local church that did not have electricity. The military doctors used flashlights to guide the surgery that resulted in having to leave some shrapnel because of its dangerous proximity to a nerve. That shrapnel became a war medal Charles carried inside of him for the rest of his life.

Charles had forged deep life-long connections with the “folks” in his childhood neighborhood including his best friend Leonard. Charles first met Leonard’s younger sister Onda when he was 12 and she just 4 years old. Though they knew each other their entire lives, they did not start dating until Charles turned 30. They soon married at St. Theresa in Detroit and with common values and history; the couple forged a loving, prosperous 62-year marriage that centered around their treasured four children: Susan, Mary, Nancy, and John.

Never intimidated by a challenge, Charles took Engineering classes as an adult and worked until he was 73 years old in construction and tunnels. He also bravely accompanied his wife, his sister Rita, and daughter Mary to Medjugorie, Bosnia in 1993, to provide protection for them while they traveled the War torn country.

Not only did Charles value hard work and providing for his loved ones, he also thoroughly enjoyed a good game of golf, his beloved Lions, Westerns, singing Frank Sinatra songs, and a stiff Martini. On Sunday’s he and his bride celebrated their faith together by attending Our Lady Queen of Hope in Detroit before moving to Redford where they attended mass at St. Valentine’s Catholic Church.

Charles’ children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren held him in the highest esteem. His legacy as an inspiring role model and provider, whose unfailing support provided a powerful foundation for each of them to build their lives upon, shall live on in each of their proud hearts and great lives.

Charles Payne, age 93, died peacefully in the comforts of his beloved family, January 30, 2017. Loving husband of Onda. Dear father of Mary (Stephen) Owsiak, Nancy (Tim) Zammitt, John Payne and the Late Susan. Proud grandfather of many loving grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Visitation will be Friday at Neely-Turowski Funeral Home 30200 Five Mile (Between Middlebelt and Merriman) with a 7pm Rosary. Funeral Mass will be Saturday at 10:30am, instate 10am at St. Valentine Church in Redford. To sign the online guestbook visit www.turowskilifestory.com