If two or three or four share the same flair; isn’t it fair to say that the footprints walked are dear?
According to all reports, the late Archer Haldane Payne, better known as Hal, lived like a poem – a proverbial psalm of life.
This past December, glowing tribute was paid to the former Sargeant’s Village, Christ Church resident by associates, family, friends and fellow members of the New York Diaspora at his Sunday afternoon home going service at the Church of Transfiguration in Free Port, Long Island.
Payne was described as a gentleman, a happy person, an active and keen sportsman, a competent technician and a person of strong faith who was the life of the party and community, among other things.
The tributes were consistent and appeared to have sprung naturally out of a learning crucible of self-reliance, cultural, social and economic values, camaraderie and athletic instruction taught to students by teachers at the Boys Foundation School.
In the language of the late Irvine King, Payne had balance and motion skills: He ran like a bird, his knee lift was like a bird, and he moved his head like a bird. But that is a science story in itself for another time.
Dave St Hill knew Payne from school. Addressing the congregation at the service, and speaking on behalf of Beverly Callender, the president of the Foundation alumni, he said: “Hal had a most memorable personality, a loud and distinct laugh. When he was telling a joke he was laughing hysterically before reaching the punch line. He liked a good argument or discussion, especially about cricket or dominoes.”
St Hill also revealed that Payne was a private person.
“Many of our members were not aware of Hal’s illness . . . . Hal in his usual way bore his illness with great strength and his faith never waned.
“His living motto was ‘Treasure Time and Talent’. He often said, I may not have money or treasure but I will use my talents and offer my time… . Hal’s work on earth is done but his job in heaven has just begun. God needed an angel and he has chosen Hal,” St Hill added.
Jokingly, his friends also recalled that Payne was sometimes a pain – always late, yet every one for good reason, forgave him.
Hattan Callender, speaking on behalf of the Kinch, Payne and Callender posse – a trio of school friends – explained: “If you wanted to get somewhere on time, then Hal was not the person for you to call.
“My buddy and friend once picked me up at 7:15 a.m. for an 8:30 a.m. flight to Barbados. We were going to a test match. Of course, we missed the flight . . . . I was really upset, . . . but Hal said to me afterwards: ‘Cally don’t be mad at me, at least we have each other’”
Callender also recalled that “Hal could fix any and everything – change brakes or oil, fix computers, and do plumbing.
“If you were locked out of your car or house, Hal could get you in.”
He also described Hal as the “life of the party”.
“Anyone, who came into contact with Hal would be touched by his charm. Whether it was his Stetson hat or his ballroom moves on the dance floor, Hal enjoyed the flair. He accepted his lot and often told me, ‘Cally, I am good’. ”
In the obituary, Payne’s children remembered him as a patient and kind father who encouraged them to pursue their dreams and to always remain humble.
He was a legend in the community in which he lived and was respected by all those who knew him.
Hal Payne – also known as Archie, Pacer and Hatchet – immigrated to New York in 1971. He worked at American Express and Dietold and had an associate degree in electronics.
He was married to Toren for 41 years and also leaves to mourn his three children and many other relatives.