Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home - Champaign Il

Today is

Frederick E. Payne

It is with broken hearts to say that we lost the love of our lives, Frederick (Fred) E. Payne, on Saturday, September 1, 2018, at 3 a.m. at OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center, Urbana.

PaynePrivate services will be held at Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home, 201 N. Elm, Champaign, with Pastor Tom Hillertz officiating. Entombment will be in Mt. Hope Mausoleum.

He was born November 8, 1921, at home in London Mills, Ill., a son of Floyd and Angie (Essex) Payne. Weighing only three pounds, he was kept in a shoebox in a warming oven — only one of the reasons we call him our “miracle man.”

He graduated in 1940 from Abingdon High School, where he played football and basketball, being our “star guard,” making 3-point shots before they existed.

He started working for Illinois Bell in 1941 and enlisted in the Army in 1942 as a Teletype Technician. After being honorably discharged, he went back to Illinois Bell, working there for 37 years, retiring in December, 1977.

He was married 73 years to the love of his life, Virginia Sieling, on May 6, 1945. She survives, along with the second love of his life, daughter and caregiver, Linda Payne, both of Champaign.

He was preceded in death by his parents and four siblings.

While at Illinois Bell, he volunteered with the Telephone Pioneers, making roll-around carts covered with carpet for disabled children.

He worked at the Assembly Hall, starting in 1964 as a Gateman, later becoming Gateman Supervisor for 32 years. While working there, he also worked for the U of I Athletic Association ticket office, starting in 1978 for 13 years. He then  worked for the Assembly Hall ticket office, was an election judge, and was Auditor for the Champaign County Fair Association for many years, all while being the best Daddy and husband ever, making a loving home, building additions to our home himself, and keeping the yard immaculate.

Then in 2002, Fred was paralyzed from the neck down and diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome. But by the grace of God and for His hearing so many prayers from all across the United States, plus Fred’s strong will and determination, he recovered 99% with only residual effects.

He was a member of the Telephone Pioneers and past president of Illinois Bell Credit Union. Fred was a Boy Scout leader, member of the C-U Elks Lodge, Eagles Lodge, and a lifetime member of the American Legion, being presented with a 70-year certificate in March, 2017.

He was a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of Champaign for over 50 years, being president of Council numerous times.

He was a blood donor, giving over 40 plus pints.

Fred was an avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Fighting Illini. He loved bowling, basketball, football, golf, being outside, waking up early to watch the sun rise, feeding and watching the birds, and watching and counting jet-trails in the sky. He loved building and fixing things, loved to tease, joke, talk, tell stories, and especially smile, laugh, and have fun. Being a religious man, he had a loving heart for his Lord and Savior, and most of all, loved his girls, dancing, and a good Manhattan!

Fred loved life, making the most of every day, was always a fighter in whatever challenge he faced, and tried so hard to always do his best.

He was always giving, loving, truthful, caring, sweet, kind, funny, as well as wise in so many ways, being a true gentleman, saying “always ladies first.”

He was proud to be 96 and all that he did in life. He was our hero, protector, and best friend. We always have been and always will be so proud of him. He was so special.

God blessed us with the best husband, father, uncle, and friend, leaving us with a lifetime of fun and fabulous memories.

Fred will be forever missed and always remembered with love.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Champaign County Humane Society for his love of dogs, and to the family to be sent to the Guillain-Barré Syndrome Foundation.

Condolences to the family may be offered online at www.HeathandVaughn.com.


Dearest Virginia and Linda, 

I have very fond memories of seeing the family during meals at the Urbana Garden restaurant. 

Fred was always so gracious to me and everyone that entered the restaurant. I recall his 70th wedding anniversary celebration. I was pleased to share conversations with the family as they were always pleasant to visit with. 

What an honor for me to have met, not only Fred, but his dear loving wife, Virginia and Linda, who is the best daughter ever in caring for her lovely family. I’m so Thankful that our paths crossed. 

Fred will be missed, however, he knew a lot of folks and shared his love with each and everyone he knew. 

May God Bless. 

Love to Virginia and Linda, 

Jean Gothard 
Urbana, IL


Linda and Virginia, sending sympathy from long ago Cambridge Dr. neighbors. You guys were great to us during our time there in the early 70’s. During that time we learned what great neighbors were like and that has followed us in other neighborhoods both in Champaign and in Florida. Fred had an amazing and full life and we pray you will relish great memories in the days and weeks ahead.  

Don and Veronica Livesay
Casselberry FL


I was sorry to hear of Fred’s passing. He and I worked together at both Illinois Bell and The Assembly Hall . He was as was stated in the obit a kind, friendly, helpful and cheerful man. Fred and I were placed in the Urbana Central Office during the 1968 strike assigned to maintain the switching office. I had no previous knowledge of switching equipment but Fred had past experience on the OLD equipment, so with his help and guidance we kept the office running for 6 months.

Fred and I were gatemen at the hall from 1964 until I was given the job of supervisor of concessions. We also worked together selling tickets at Memorial Stadium. I was transferred to Springfield in 1974 and lost track of some of my friends in Champaign.

I will always remember with great affection this Warm, Friendly, Good natured and Happy, Christian Man.

Bradford Harris

Springfield, Ill.


Just remembering the good times we had during visits when we were kids. Your Dad always kept me in stitches. Love to you and your Mom.

Richard Sieling


I am so sorry that I couldn't be with you at this time. As well you know, I had my Dad but my second Dad was Fred. From my first memories of life, there was always the 6 of us. Ball games in St. Louis and the shopping before hand to Sunday drives over around London Mills. I remember the first time we bought a watermelon that had yellow meat instead of red meat! What a hoot. To say I'm sorry would be an understatement. Virginia and Linda know my heart aches for you. I don't feel the loss as I would if I were in your place, but I have a keen sense of loss. I love you both and wish we weren't so far apart. I'm just a phone call away. Again, I am so sorry. All my love, DK

Delia Jones