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Alvin E. Payne

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Date published: 7/28/2014

Alvin E. Payne

Alvin Edward "Eddie" Payne Jr., 94, passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 26, 2014. Eddie had been a lifelong resident of Fredericksburg. He was described as a "Renaissance man" in a book written about him by the Historical Fredericksburg Foundation's Oral History Project.

Eddie was truly a self-made man and entrepreneur. In the 1940s, he and his wife, Ruth, started Payne Electric Company in downtown Fredericksburg. They sold and repaired radios, televisions, washers, dryers, refrigerators, electric ranges and other household appliances, even pianos. Eddie was also an electrical contractor, sold electrical supplies and wired many residential and commercial buildings in the area. Later, when Payne Heating and Cooling was formed, the business was relocated to a building he built from the ground up in the Four-Mile Fork area. He was active in the Kiwanis Club, where he boasted a perfect attendance record, and served as president of the local chapter for many years. After retiring from the retail business, Eddie developed the adjacent land, which is now known as Stonefront Plaza, and commercial/industrial warehouse buildings in the area.

Eddie lived a colorful life. As a young adult, he and his wife, Ruth, had a country band called the Happy Rovers. They entertained audiences with a weekly radio show and regular live performances, playing once with Patsy Cline. Later, they formed the Stardusters, a large group playing big-band music of the '40s and '50s to clubs from Washington, D.C., to Northern Virginia.

Always a risk-taker, Eddie competed as an amateur boxer, flew airplanes, privately and for the Civil Air Patrol, raced cars and owned the Fredericksburg Motor Speedway. He started playing golf in his late 50s, was upset if he didn't shoot his age or better while in his 70s and, at the age of 82, won a National Seniors Golf Championship. He later went to school to learn how to build custom golf clubs, which he did well into his 90s. Eddie was a passionate man who maximized every opportunity he had in life.

Eddie is survived by his devoted wife of 70 years, Ruth Stevens Payne; son Ron Payne (Wendy Woods) of Manakin-Sabot; daughter Robyn Payne Modly (Tom) of Annapolis, Md.; and four grandchildren.

A celebration of Eddie's life will be held at noon Wednesday, July 30, at Fredericksburg Baptist Church, 1019 Princess Anne Street. A reception will follow. The family will have a private burial.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Eddie's memory to Mary Washington Hospice, 5012 Southpoint Parkway, Fredericksburg, VA 22407; and to Fredericksburg Baptist Church, 1019 Princess Anne St., Fredericksburg, VA 22401.

Online guest book is available at covenantfuneralser vice.com.