Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home - Champaign Il

Today is

Virginia Payne

A broken heart is once again shattered after the loss of another love of our lives. Virginia Payne slipped away peacefully at home at 10:15 p.m., Tuesday, March 9, while holding her daughter’s hand and looking at a picture of her beloved husband, Fred.

Visitation and services will be held at Mt. Hope Mausoleum, 611 E. Pennsylvania Ave., Champaign, with Pastor Lynette Chapman officiating. Casual dress is requested with St. Louis Cardinals or Illini attire welcomed. Masks and social distancing will be required.

Anna Virginia (Sieling) Payne was born October 7, 1921, at home on a farm in Leonard, Illinois, daughter of Fred and Lena Sieling. She was the last of eight children and lived the longest of all.

As a child, she attended a one-room schoolhouse, skipping a grade along the way since she was the only student in that class. The family later moved to Watseka, where she graduated from Watseka High School in 1939.

She then worked for 14 years at McFall Insurance Agency, and during that time, she met the love of her life, Fred Payne. After turning down three dates with him, she finally called him a month after meeting in the summer of 1944, getting engaged in November, and married on May 6, 1945. That’s when the true love story began.

They moved to Urbana in 1953, when Fred was transferred to the Engineering Dept. of Illinois Bell. In the Spring of 1955, they moved to Champaign, and after ten years, were anxiously awaiting the birth of their baby girl, Linda.

She returned to work at Goodell Engineering and then worked at Lloyd Engert Law Offices, back to the same engineering firm now called Bazzell-Phillips Engineering and then returned to Engert and Sinder law firm until Lloyd Engert retired. During these years, she also volunteered for the Mercy Hospital Auxiliary in the gift shop, bringing Linda along until she was old enough to be a Candy Striper so they could work together. She also worked as Extra Help at the U of I Social Work, and along side Fred as an election judge.

After Fred retired from Illinois Bell in 1977, they worked side-by-side at the U of I Athletic Assoc. Ticket Office, the Assembly Hall Ticket Office, and as auditors for the Champaign County Fair Assoc.

Virginia was the oldest living member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, being a member for 54 years. She and Fred assisted with calls for new members and helped with many assorted mailings.

Virginia was an avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, attending games with Fred and Linda in all three Busch Stadiums. She also loved Illini Basketball, even flying to Seattle in 1989 for the Final Four. She also enjoyed bowling with Fred in several different couple leagues.

Virginia loved to entertain and have parties. She hosted many Christmas parties with Fred for friends and co-workers and hosted Bridge Club parties with other Illinois Bell wives. She loved to play cards, especially Euchre. She collected Hummel figurines and spoons from many vacations, traveling to 48 of the United States and all but one of the Canadian provinces with Fred and Linda. Fred and Virginia also enjoyed Caribbean cruises and celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in the Bahamas with Linda.

In her earlier years, she enjoyed cross-stitching and needlepoint, and in her later years, at age 92, Solitaire on her iPad became her interest, winning over 30,000 games.

Virginia loved dogs, loved to bake, especially Christmas cookies and candy, cooking for Fred and Linda, making homemade noodles, pies, and pie crusts, and spaghetti sauce made from scratch to name a few, even making homemade dog biscuits for their epileptic dog.

Most of all, she made a loving home and loved to dance, especially with Fred. She was a loving, devoted wife, mother, aunt and best friend. She was a kind and gentle soul, thoughtful, giving, caring, charming, fun, sweet, and a very special lady. God blessed us with the best and with many wonderful lifelong memories.

Virginia is survived by her daughter and caregiver, Linda Payne, of Champaign. She was preceded in death by her parents, seven siblings, and the love of her life, Fred, in 2018. After 73 years of marriage and 2½ years without him, she is forever back in his arms again.

They were a shining example of what true love is and were life partners in every sense. Their love was unceasing. They were always inseparable and by each other’s side through thick and thin, always holding hands, respectful, caring, and most of all, loving. Once Linda came along, the three of them were always together and their love, devotion and dedication to each other has inspired and touched everyone around them. The depth of love between the three of them is a bond that will never be broken or forgotten.

She is now resting in peace with our Lord, and dancing with her beloved Fred on the clouds of heaven. Virginia will be forever missed, always remembered with love, and will always live in our hearts.

We are grateful that she is now at peace and free from the wicked grips of dementia that held her for almost 20 years. So in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Disease Research, ℅ Stacy Pagos Haller, 22512 Gateway Center Drive, Clarksburg, MD 20871, to help find a cure for this devastating, dreadful disease. Contributions may also be made to the Champaign County Humane Society for Virginia’s love of dogs.

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


Linda, what a beautiful tribute to the life of your mom. Was blessed to have met you and your parents at my brother’s show. Not sure what we were thinking to get into that gig. Enjoyed working with your dad parking cars and visiting. I remember seeing them both at the assembly hall during events. Take care and hold onto the memories.

—Peace, Mike Nolan


Dear Linda, 

My sympathy and love to you on your Mother’s passing. I will always remember your parents as kind, funny and caring towards everyone they knew. Blessings that they are reunited in what lies beyond this world. A huge hug to you; I know you are hurting, but may all the great memories of your family give you comfort. 


Cheryl Gherna