Cover photo for Ralph A. Payne's Obituary
Ralph A. Payne Profile Photo

Ralph A. Payne

August 24, 1928 — October 20, 2007

WASHINGTON – Ralph A. Payne, 79, of Washington, KS, passed away Saturday, October 20, 2007, at the Homestead Nursing Home in Washington, KS. A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, October 23, 2007, at Ward Funeral Home in Washington. Visitation will be held on Monday, October 22, from noon until 8:00 p.m. The family will receive friends from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be in the Steele City Cemetery, at Steele City, Nebraska. Ralph was born August 24, 1928, at Endicott, Nebraska, the son of Leonard H. and Mary Ann (Rathbun) Payne. He graduated from Steele City High School. He earned the rank of Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corp while serving from 1946 until 1948, and again from 1950 until 1951, serving both at Camp Pendleton, CA, and Hawthorne, NV. On November 21, 1952, he married Rose Ann Steiner at Odell, NE. After the military he worked for Swift & Co. in Beatrice. In 1953 he began farming near Steele City, raising both cattle and horses. In 1966 he worked for Johnson Feed & Grain. In 1969, Ralph and Rose purchased the Western Auto Store in Washington and operated it until 1990, and then became head of maintenance and housekeeping at the Homestead Nursing Home until retiring in 2004. Ralph was a farmer at heart and loved horses. He was a charter member of the Steele City Volunteer Fire Department, served in the Steele City Saddle Club, Steele City School Board, and coached the Steele City grade school basketball team. In 1960, he participated in the first Pony Express cross country re-run. He also participated in re-enactments at the Rock Creek station near Fairbury. He was a fifty-five year member of the Campbell-Klein Legion Post #349, and an active member of the Steele City Presbyterian Church. He later became a member of the Christian Church in Washington. He was a past chief of Washington County Rural Fire District #9, and also the City of Washington Fire Department. He was an active member of the Washington County Saddle Club, and coached girls high school softball. He was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Marjorie Rende and her husband Ralph, and Leora Iwohn; one son-in-law, Richard Hill; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Arthur and Rose Steiner; two sister-in-laws, Ivadelle Sohl and her husband Bert, and Ila Mae Curtis and her husband Don; and one nephew, David Iwohn. Survivors include his wife, Rose A. Payne, of Washington; two daughters, Debra Hill and her companion, Gary Heit, both of Washington, and D’Ete Meacham and her husband Tim, of Sioux City, IA; one brother, Joe Payne and his wife Berdine, of Steele City, NE; six grandchildren, Stephanie Springer and her husband Richard, of Virginia Beach, VA; Richard Hill of Washington, Lori Eickolt and her husband Brent, of Sioux City, IA; Kelsey Meacham of LaVista, NE; Billy Meacham and Blake Meacham, of Sioux City, IA; six great-grandchildren; two brother-in-laws, Clarence Iwohn of Reynolds, NE, and Charles Steiner and his wife Dana, of Gretna, NE; and one sister-in-law, Charleen Schmidt and her husband Richard, of Denver, CO. A memorial fund has been established and contributions may be sent in care of Ward Funeral Home, Washington, KS. To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ralph A. Payne, please visit our flower store.


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