WASHINGTON — Sarah Elizabeth "Sally" Wright Payne of Washington died peacefully Friday, November 8, 2019 at the age of 100.
Sally was born in Brockville, Ontario, Canada, in March, 1919 in the Brockville General Hospital during a heavy snowstorm – perhaps not really per family legend in a sleigh on the way there. At the time, her father, Ellery Wright, was managing the Maxwell car plant there to supply World War I Allies with armored vehicles.
Sally and her dad were very close, and his adventures became her adventures — racing with a Chevrolet, winning the world record Glidden Tour, and dinners with Walter Chrysler and Jack Benny in the Palmer House in Chicago at the 1933 Worlds Fair (she was 14). Later adventures included relocating to build Chevrolet plants in St. Louis, Mo.; Janesville, Wis., and Tarrytown, N.Y.
Sally married John Howard Payne, Jr., in 1939 and after his return from World War II in the South Pacific, moved to Woodbury with their young son, John Howard Payne, III, and later to Washington. Together Sally and John became well-known ambassadors within the banking industry for the several regional banks he headed prior to predeceasing Sally.
Sally was always optimistic, bright and cheery. Her family never saw her angry or upset and “wonderful” was her favorite descriptor.
She joins her son (predeceased) and leaves behind daughter-in-law Susan of Washington; their children, John and Kate Payne (and her great-grandchildren, Trevor, Neely and Eliza) of Marblehead, Mass., as well as Sarah Payne and Bliksem Tobey (and her great-grandchildren, Lily and Madeleine) of Queens, N.Y. and Washington.
At her request, there will be no formal service, rather a small family gathering.
Gifts in her memory may be sent to the Washington Art Association, P.O. Box 173, Washington Depot 06794, where she most enjoyed her watercolor painting classes and local community.