At her request a graveside service for Roberta "Grandma Berta" Payne will be held at 2:00 PM, Fri., Jan. 22, 2021 in the Causey Cemetery next to her family, with Rev. Rick Wilcher officiating. All of her grandchildren will be honorary pallbearers. In lieu of flowers, she requested that donations be made to her beloved New Mexico Baptist Children's Home, P O Box 629, Portales, NM 88130.
Thelma Roberta Merrick Payne passed from this life into her Heavenly Home on Jan. 18, 2021, at the age of 94. Roberta was the first child born to the home of Robert and Thelma (Stovall) Merrick in Welch, TX near Lamesa on Sept. 19, 1926. In true pioneer fashion, her grandmother spent that day delivering both she and her cousin, Carl Herndon, going from home to home awaiting the arrival of the first baby. Always the competitor, Roberta was the first to make her appearance into her new family.
Roberta attended school in Lamesa, TX, and Horse Springs, Lingo and Causey, NM. She graduated from Causey High School in 1944. After graduation, she attended Eastern New Mexico University for a short while, until her father called her back to the family farm, as his number one farmhand. While living in Causey, she helped to build the Causey Baptist Church, by straightening out buckets full of recycled nails. She accepted Jesus as her Savior at an early age, and spent her life serving Him in her quiet, gentle and loving way. She was a member of University Baptist Church, but was also active at Calvary Baptist Church and Emmanuel Baptist Church in Portales, NM.
After she raised her family in California, she was employed by the Selective Service System and assisted in the closing of the Draft Boards across California and West Texas in the late 1970's. She was also employed as secretary for the Liberal Arts Dept. at Eastern New Mexico University for several years. She retired from her varied careers as secretary and historian of the New Mexico Baptist Children's Home in 1995. She loved the children and staff there for 12 wonderful years.
She became known, very affectionately, as "Grandma Berta" to all that knew her. Roberta loved her Lord and her family with a love that was unconditional. If she knew your name, she considered you family, and loved you as family. She was also a self-proclaimed sports nut! Her greatest joy, before and after her retirement, was watching her grandchildren participate in sports of any kind, anywhere, at anytime. Baseball and softball were her favorites, but she also enjoyed watching them in football, basketball, volleyball and track.
Roberta was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Thelma Merrick, her brothers, Buster, Guy and Hank Merrick, her sister, Dorothy Kirchoff, her son, Rod Payne and grandson, Tommy Clinton Skipworth. She is survived by her sister, Erlene (Wayne) Wallace, sisters-in-law, Christine Merrick and Marcel Merrick, brother-in-law, George Kirchoff, her loving son, Stan Payne and daughter, Susan (Buddy) Skipworth, three grandsons, four granddaughters, twelve great-grandchildren, and five great-great-grandchildren, as well as numerous cousins, nephews, nieces and "Adopted by Heart Grandkiddos," as she called them.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thelma "Roberta" (Merrick) Payne, please visit our floral store.