Send a Sympathy Card
Plant Memorial Trees
Sunday, July 10, 2022
Starts at 2:00pm (Central time)
A memorial service for George Wilburn Payne, Jr., 76, will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 10, in the First United Methodist Church of Levelland.
Dr. Payne, a business and civic leader, died Thursday, June 30, in a Lubbock hospital after a lengthy battle with pulmonary fibrosis.
Dr. Payne served the community as an optometrist for nearly five decades, fully retiring in 2021. He embraced medical progress and incorporated state-of-the-art diagnostic technology to benefit his patients. He considered it a privilege to have a front-row seat to rapidly changing technology and its implementation in the treatment of eye disease and the aging process.
He was born in Austin in July, 1945 to Julia and George W. Payne, Sr. His family moved to Levelland in 1952 and he graduated from Levelland High School in 1963.
He attended Texas Tech University for two years before transferring to the University of Houston, completing his Bachelor of Science degree in 1968. He earned his Doctor of Optometry from the University of Houston in 1970.
He served in the U.S. Army at Fort Monroe, Virginia, attaining the rank of Captain while serving as an optometrist during part of the Viet Nam War.
He returned to Levelland in 1973 and began practicing optometry with his father, who retired in 1980.
George and Deborah married on January 4, 1980. They have two sons, Parker and Garrett.
In 1991, Dr. Payne earned a license to practice Therapeutic Optometry. In 1999, he also became affiliated with Laser Eye Center of Lubbock, which provides refractive eye care. In 2007, he brought Dr. Amanda Neal into his optometry practice as a partner. The business is now Levelland Eye and Vision.
Through the years, Dr. Payne was also actively involved in the community, especially supporting and promoting the arts and his wife’s career as a Levelland ISD choir teacher and director.
He was a charter member and president of the Levelland Fine Arts Council and served on the boards of the South Plains Prevent Blindness Association and South Plains Rural Health System.
He was an active member of the Levelland Noon Rotary Club, serving in multiple leadership positions including president. He chaired the club’s Polio Plus fund-raising efforts to eradicate polio from the globe, and is a Paul Harris Fellow. He was also a Partner for Life for Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch and Girlstown USA, an active supporter of the Lubbock Symphony, a career-long member of the American Optometric Association and a committed supporter of beloved family, education, Christ United Methodist Church and the community. He was recognized as the Medical Professional of the Year by the Levelland Chamber of Commerce in 2019.
He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Deborah; his sons: Parker Payne of Lubbock and Garrett of San Antonio; his sister, Judy Banister (Ken) of Wyoming; sister-in-law, Barbara Gentry (Mike) of Ruidoso, NM; brother-in-law, Jimmy Edmondson of Fort Worth and several cousins, nieces and nephews.
The family suggests memorials to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, 230 East Ohio Street, Suite 500, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Donations to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation can be made online on the tribute page at https://app.moblecause.com/vt/PFFTribute/GeorgePayne.
Arrangements are under the direction and personal care of the professionals at Krestridge Funeral Home. (806) 897-1111