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Bob R Payne
September 3, 1939 ~ June 4, 2023 (age 83) 83 Years Old
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In Loving Memory of Bob Payne
Bob Payne, a hard worker, skilled entrepreneur, and resilient spirit, peacefully passed away at his home in Libby on June 4, 2023, after a valiant 18-month battle with cancer. His loss is deeply felt by his loved ones, but his memory will forever remain a source of inspiration and love.
Born on September 3, 1939, in San Mateo, California, Bob was the youngest child of Russell and Florence (Mo) Payne. Prior to his birth, during the Great Depression, Bob's parents with his older siblings, Lois and Bill, had relocated to California in search of employment opportunities. In 1951, the family returned to the Troy area, where Bob's father had been born. Bob graduated from Troy High School in 1957, and eagerly joined the family business—a post and pole peeling operation.
On May 1, 1964, Bob exchanged vows with his wife, Sharon Pellens. Over their 15 years of marriage, they were blessed with four children, LaSchell, Allan, Sharee, and Brian. Bob's dedication to his family was unwavering, and he took immense pride in being a loving father.
Bob's entrepreneurial spirit led him to establish his own log loading, hauling, and right-of-way business. Throughout his career, he designed and built logging machinery and tools, showcasing his exceptional talents as a machinist and craftsman. Bob's work ethic was unmatched, and he continued working tirelessly until his illness forced him to retire.
Bob is survived by his children: LaSchell Lelm and her husband Mark, Allan and his wife Martha, Sharee Eschenbacher and her husband Dan, and Brian. He is also survived by his sister, Lois Morgan, and her husband Bob; his brother, Bill; thirteen grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren, with another on the way. Bob's legacy extends beyond his immediate family, as he enriched the lives of countless friends and community members.
Bob possessed an unshakable calmness, even in the face of the numerous emergencies or calamities inherent in the logging business. He had a natural talent for problem-solving and was renowned for his ingenuity in creating custom logging equipment. With calloused hands that bore the testament of hard work, everyone else had to be careful when taking hot dishes as he passed them along.
While not widely known, Bob did have a fun side. One humorous incident remains etched in family lore when Bob playfully hung his mischievous young son Allan by the coat on the camp cookhouse wall and once taught his daughter the art of lake bottom skiing. He could always be counted on to bring home the best “steelies” and truck tire innertubes for his children, creating memories of joy and adventure. He led by example, offering guidance and support rather than unsolicited advice or criticism, except, of course, in the kitchen.
Generous with his time and skills, Bob happily shared his passion for hard work with his children. He built a special treehouse for his grandchildren. He held a deep appreciation for his sister's voice; was the only person capable of matching his brother's appetite for fried smelt; but would never eat bread crust. A slow and deliberate shopper, he took great care in selecting each and every item.
Bob Payne will be dearly missed, but his legacy of resilience, craftsmanship, work ethic and unwavering love will continue to inspire those who knew and loved him. May his memory forever be cherished in our hearts. A private family service is planned for July. Arrangements are under the care of the Schnackenberg Funeral Home of Libby. Memories and condolences may be shared online by visiting www.schnackenbergfh.com.