The Community Foundation of the Ozarks board and staff extend our condolences to the family of Jim Payne, the longtime public servant and civic leader who died on Jan. 5 at the age of 89.
Jim served as Chair of the CFO Board of Directors from July 1, 1979 to June 30, 1981. He also was visionary in the CFO’s founding. When he was the Mayor of Springfield, he visited a community in Texas that had a very nice zoo. He inquired about how the zoo was funded and learned it was supported through a local community foundation.
He brought the idea back to Springfield. In the meantime, a group of members on the Greene County Estate Planning Council were thinking about a community foundation as a vehicle to allow donors to make gifts for general community betterment or specific causes or interests.
The CFO was founded in 1973, and, coincidentally, the first grant of $10,000 was made to establish a children’s petting zoo at Dickerson Park Zoo.
After 13 years as Mayor, Jim moved on to serve on the Greene County Commission for many years. He was active in the Rotary Club of Springfield and a member of First & Calvary Presbyterian Church. He also was a voracious golfer, from the time he started caddying as a teenager to when he won a senior state championship in 1983.
For the full obituary and service information in the Springfield News-Leader, click here. We greatly appreciate Jim’s final commitment to his community in his family’s request for general memorials to the CFO. The memorials will recognize Jim Payne and his family as members of the Founder’s Fund for the CFO’s 40th anniversary this year.