A bright, sharp light was extinguished in Amissville over the weekend; Bill Payne, the auctioneer and valued member of the Amissville community, succumbed to cancer on Sunday.
His steady, warm voice presided over auctions for the past two decades, filling the house with regular customers, moving the goods and entertaining everyone at no extra charge.
William Luther Payne, Jr. was born in Rappahannock County on Feb. 13, 1953. As a youngster, he attended public school here, and graduated from Rappahannock High School in 1971.
After a bit more than a year at Virginia Tech, Bill moved on to radio announcing. For a time, he was a salesman for Lorillard, the big tobacco company. But he wanted to use his voice, and headed for a career calling for bids.
As a youngster, Bill would often accompany his father, William Luther “Red” Payne, to the stock auctions. His mother, Mary, always figured that it was hearing the auctioneer at those sales that enticed Bill into a career wielding the hammer.
While on the road selling tobacco, Bill used his two-week vacation to go to a school for auctioneers in North Carolina. He was on his way. The auction house in Amissville went up in 1992.
Most of the time that he picked up the hammer, Bill was assisted by his wife, Mauri. They have two children, a son Christopher and daughter Megan.
Bill was a founder of the Piedmont Softball Association in Amissville. He and Mauri bred world-quality Appaloosa horses for the last 30-plus years.
Now that eager, pleasant voice has fallen silent for the last time.
He is survived by his wife and children and a very special grandson, Marcus, all of Amissville. He is survived by his parents, also of Amissville.
A memorial service was held yesterday (Wednesday) at Amissville Baptist Church.
As he wished, donations in Bill’s name may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, Tenn., 38105, or to Hospice of the Rapidan, P.O. Box 1715, Culpeper, VA 22701-1715, or to the Lombardi Cancer Center Office of Advancement at Georgetown University, 3300 Whitehaven St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20007.