A “Bit” of Remembrance – “An Old Friend Passed” – Tribute to William Britton “Son” Payne, Jr.


An Old Friend Passed

By Louis J. Scholl, Jr.

From The Malakoff News
February, 1948

William Britton, "Son" Payne, Jr.

The News editor is minus still another old friend with the passing last Saturday morning of W. B. “Son” Payne, and we join his loved ones in grieving his departure.  “Son” Payne, as he was more familiarly known, was perhaps our oldest Texan friend.  When we alighted from that Cotton Belt passenger train back there on the morning of August 15, 1916, he was one of the first men with whom we became acquainted.  It was he that offered us our first job in Texas, in the old Flagg Drug Store of which he was then a successful young manager.  We accepted that place and it was our pleasure to work with, and for him on two different occasions, for a period of about five years.

When better opportunities were afforded, behooving us to leave his employ, “Son” gave us one of the nicest letters of recommendation that we ever had.  He was one of our warm personal friends throughout the years that were to follow and it was our pleasure to return that friendship as best we could.  He did us many little favors back there in our early days in Texas, which we shall not forget, among which was a loan that enabled us to purchase the very first automobile that we have ever owned – a Ford touring car of the vintage of 1917.

“Son” had his faults, the same as we, or shall we say characteristics that were peculiar unto himself.  His jovial nature resulted in his becoming the object of many jokes and pranks by his fellow townsmen, all of which he accepted in the spirit of fun, and which he could laugh off with greater ease than anyone else we ever knew.

“Son” will be missed, not only in the family circle about his own fireside, but by the great host of people who patronized and chided him, and who were served and befriended by him during his more than forty years of service to the pharmacy trade in this community.

While words fail to convey our feelings of sorrow, the News would express its deepest sympathy and affection to his loved ones in this crushing affliction, and add the hope that the Almighty in His goodness will console them in this dark hour of their tribulation.

NOTE from Britt:  The above tribute to my grandfather, for whom I am named, was written with a grace and eloquence that only a truly great small-town journalist like Louis Scholl, Jr. could pen.  The style of journalism that the Scholls brought to The Malakoff News stands alone as the highest example of what true small-town journalism is all about.  Mr. Scholl’s prose is simple, heart-felt, and pours forth a genuine sense of love and loss for his oldest friend in Malakoff…

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