Life Story / Obituary
Janet L. Payne, 84, passed away surrounded by her loving family on Monday, July 4th, 2022. Janet was born in Eau Claire on May 16, 1938, daughter of the late Bud and Betsy (nee: Laflin) White. Janet was united in marriage to James F. Payne on December 28, 1956 and shared almost 50 years together before he passed on August 29, 2006.
Janet was a child advocate who strongly believed in the importance of volunteerism, an attribute that she modeled her life after, and had the ability to see the good in everyone. Janet devoted her life to social services and retired from Racine County Human Services as the Coordinator of Services to Children, Youth and Families after nearly 30 years of service. Other notable career work include her roles as the Juvenile Detention Center Director, United Way grant-writer and Bethany Apartments Interim Director.
Janet co-created the Community Intervention Program in conjunction with the Racine Police Department providing mediation services to the community for nearly 10 years. In 2000 she received a Citizen’s Public Service Award from the Racine Police Department in appreciation of her community outreach work.
Throughout her life, she enjoyed volunteering as a teacher/mentor for many organizations including St. Mary’s School, Wayman Church and Fine Arts School. She loved working with children and youth.
Recently the Racine Dominicans at Siena Center acknowledged Janet for her 15 years as an associate. She was very proud of her associate role and truly enjoyed her work and her many friends at Siena Center.
She enjoyed music, reading, nature, attending her grandchildren’s activities and caring for all. Above all, she was a loving and devoted wife, mom, grandma and great-grandma. Loved ones include her 5 children, 18 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren: Rebecca Payne with children Destiny Payne, Aysia Payne, Jesse (Leanne) and Abby Tietz; Timothy (Annette) Payne with children Simon (Suzanne) and Emmeline Payne, Scott (Clarissa) Wenzel and James (Amber Hovey) Wenzel; Anthony Payne with children Brandon (Kelly), Evan and Jackson Payne, Kassity (Devon Thomas) Payne, Damian Thomas and Garrett Thomas, Kierstyn (Zachary Kant) Payne, JD (Taylor Galaszewski) Payne and Trenten Payne; Emilie Polzin with children, Kayla (Dallas), Everett, Betsy and Otto Matz, Kelsey (Peter), Lincoln and Navy Tessmann and Lucas (Megan Grossmueller) Polzin; Melinda (Robert) Christman with children, Connor Christman, Jonah Christman, Riley Christman and Abigail Christman; sister Linda Oldenberg and special friends, Pam Handrow, Sue Payne, Barb Payne, Tami Nelson-Payne and Rick Polzin; nieces, nephews, other relatives and many dear friends.
In addition to her parents and husband, Janet was preceded in death by her infant daughter, Lissa; infant sons, Thomas and Joseph; sister, Sally Smith; brother-in-laws, Verlyn Oldenberg and Chuck Smith.
Funeral Services celebrating Janet’s life will be held at Maresh, Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home, 803 Main Street, on Saturday, July 16, 2022, at 11:30 a.m. with Father Ken Mich officiating. Relatives and friends may meet prior to service from 10:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.
In honor of Janet, memorials to the Racine Dominican's Mission Fund, care of Siena Center or the Janet Payne Foster Children’s Scholarship Fund, care of Safe Haven are suggested.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to Aurora at Home Hospice for all their care and compassion, they gave to Janet and our family.