Mrs. Pauline Payne celebrates 100th birthday

Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Mrs. Pauline Payne and family at her 100th birthday celebration.

Mrs. Pauline Payne smiled and greeted family and friends from across the state of Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi, Indiana and Massachusetts on Saturday, Aug. 20, as well wishers came to share in her 100th birthday celebration. The event was held at Monette Manor where Mrs. Payne has lived for a little over a year. She was recently crowned 2016 Pageant Queen at Monette Manor.

Mrs. Payne was honored with two celebrations during the week of her birthday. She turned 100 on Wednesday, Aug. 17. Monette Manor staff and residents celebrated serving cake and punch. Monette Manor Administrator Kevin Stewart sang one of her favorite songs, "Just a Rose Will Do," at the Wednesday party.

Her second celebration on Saturday was hosted by her family. Her son and daughter-in-law, Bob and Norma Payne, from Olive Branch, Miss., were on hand to welcome family and friends.

Joining Mrs. Payne were grandchildren, great-grandchildren, brother, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. They gathered for a day of celebration and reminiscing.

Mrs. Payne was born in Sharp County in Sitka. She is one of five children born to Mr. and Mrs. Jodie Higginbottom. Her family moved to the area in 1929. Her only living sibling, Marvin Higginbottom, was in Monette to share in the birthday celebration and praised her for always being a great older sister to him. Other siblings included the late Jay Higginbottom, the late Ruth Sanders, and the late Geneva Sanders.

Pauline and Albert Payne married in 1935. They are the parents of two children, Bob, and the late Bonnie Payne Fletcher. She has five grandchildren.

Mr. Payne taught school, coached and served as principal for 42 years. He taught at Shaw Farm, Hancock 1 and 2, Hackberry School, Linny and Frasure before taking a break from the classroom to serve in the military during World War II. He came back to Caraway and returned to the classroom in Caraway.

Mrs. Payne worked for many years at the Caraway Bank. She started her banking career as a bookkeeper with Monette State Bank and when Caraway Bank received its charter in 1951 she went to work there for the next 30 years.

Mr. and Mrs. Payne touched many lives throughout their careers.

She has seen a lot of changes since she and her husband picked cotton for 75 cents a hundred.

They enjoyed retirement and travel. They traveled across the country on an Amtrak.

Mrs. Payne was among the first group to be part of the Caraway Senior Citizens over 20 years ago. Former Site Director Cleffie Gipson said it was a wonderful time.

"She was always ready to go when we had a trip planned," Gipson said. "The only thing she would ask is what time are we leaving. One night we got on the bus and went to a state tournament basketball game to watch our team. It was about 3 a.m. when we got home. We always had a lot of fun."

Gipson was pleased to sing a song in honor of Mrs. Payne. She sang "Sweetest Mother."

Her grandson, Terry Fletcher, read a poem written by her great-granddaughter. Terry also shared his childhood memories of spending time visiting with his grandmother in Caraway thanking her for always being there for him during football, playing the banjo, and being his partner in cards.

Her granddaughter Amanda's husband, Aaron Gibson, wrote and sang a song to Mrs. Payne in honor of her birthday.

Mrs. Payne smiled as she blew out her candles, thanked everyone for being there and enjoyed the day with her family and friends.

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