Nickerson Funeral Home

77 Eldredge Park Way, Orleans, MA


Richard Leeds Payne

February 21, 1933March 12, 2020

Richard Leeds Payne, 87, of Brewster Massachusetts, died peacefully, surrounded by his loving family, on Thursday, March 12th, 2020.

Richard is survived by his wife of 67 years, Joan Wilson Payne; their children: Linda (William) Mason, Stephen (Kathy) Payne, Andrew (Joanne Gamble) Payne and Molly (John Piga) Payne. Also his grandchildren: Jeremy (Julie Walden-Payne) Payne, Brandon (Rachel) Payne, Kaitlyn (JT White) Payne, and Matteo and Nicolo Piga, and his great-grandchildren: Tucker and Brooke Payne. Richard was born in Boston, Massachusetts in February of 1933, son to the late William James and Alice Bufford Payne, and brother of the late Elizabeth Loring Carolan. Richard earned his B.A. degree at Williams College; his Master of Divinity degree, Cum Laude at the Episcopal Theological Seminary, and his Master of Education degree in Counseling Psychology at Boston College. Richard was ordained to the Priesthood of the Episcopal Church in December of 1957 and began his ministry at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Canyon City, Oregon. After three years in the wilds of Eastern Oregon, which he dearly loved, Richard became the Assistant Chaplain and Teacher at Holderness School in Plymouth, New Hampshire.

Four years later, his Bishop and dear friend, Lane Wickham Barton, called him back to Eastern Oregon where he served as Rector of the Church of the Redeemer in Pendleton until 1970. Richard and Joan and all four children then moved to their beloved Cape Cod and Richard became the Staff Psychologist at the S. L. French Youth Forestry Camp in Brewster. He served there as a part time consultant for several years but began his work at the Nauset Middle School, Orleans, Ma. as the School Psychologist in 1971 and continued in that position until his first retirement in 1998. At his retirement party, two dear friends and former colleagues at the Middle School cornered him and said they needed psychological help at the Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School. Three days later, Richard was hired on a part time basis and served at the Charter School for 10 wonderful years until his fuller retirement in 2008.

In addition to his school work, for some 45 years, Richard helped out as an Episcopal Priest, whenever needed, at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Orleans and as the Chaplain for neighbors “on the road”. From 1982-1985, Richard served as a part time Vicar of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in East Haddam, Connecticut. During this period, Richard worked 3-4 days per week at the middle school and 2-3 days per week at St. Stephen’s.

Richard was very proud of his Brewster heritage dating back to 1620. He spent every Summer of his life literally immersed in Cape Cod Bay. For some 70 years he could be seen, almost daily, sailing his Beetle catboat, digging sea worms, gathering sea clams or trolling over the flats, with tube and worms, for Stripers. Richard, with his wife, Joan, were avid adventurers and campers: moving twice to Eastern Oregon for a total of nine years; traveling in a truck and fifth-wheel to Alaska; many trips to visit their son, Stephen in Wyoming; 13 years in their motor home to the Stillwell Ranch bordering Big Bend National Park in SW Texas; and many more years camping and fishing off the beaches on the Gulf of Mexico in the Panhandle of Florida.

Richard had a deep love and found great joy in his family, in his work with children, teachers and parents, and in the love and grace of his Lord.

If you would like to make a donation, please send a check to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church at P.O. Box 464 East Haddam, CT 06423 or go online to https://www.ststeves.org/give/.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Richard Leeds Payne

have a memory or condolence to add?

Karen Pidcock

March 25, 2020

Joan and family, I wish I had your phone # so I could speak to you; when Gretchen Kimsey phoned me of your trying to reach me, she didn't get your phone # down. Please know that I've been remembering all of you, with caring, loving thoughts. I even wrote here last week, but it vanished! So, am trying again now, to let you know how Dirk would be wanting you to know how much he appreciated Dick's friendship and collegiality during our Heppner years when to visit him was so helpful to such a "green" young priest. We both loved the way Dick, as his godfather at Nathan's baptism, October 1969, & ever since, despite their distance during all his growing up years continued to inquire of him and reach out with his caring love. I reach out to you, having some sense of your painful loss, during this initial period of raw feelings of your loss, & I trust that you'll hold each other in deep familial love during this grief process with your mutual support of each other. It'll be 6 years this coming September, since Dirk died, and I know that the way is THROUGH, not AROUND grief, so I hope you'll do all that helps each of you to express your grief, to move you through and eventually to a place of loving, grateful, even joy-filled memories of life shared with your husband of so many years and dear father! My email is edensong@kaslo.org, phone: 250-353-7539, Box 475, Kaslo, BC V0G 1M0...same place you once visited us, after 29 years!! Much love, Karen Rinehart Pidcock (Dirk embraced legally his legal family name, & so did I).

Mary Ellen Klinck

March 24, 2020

My sincere love and sympathy to his lovely wife and family. My husband
died while he was here in East Haddam in 1984. During Don’s sickness he was at his side every Sunday saying prayers and bringing communion.. He was a big help in Don having a peaceful death.
The Klinck family

Peter Cram

March 22, 2020

I cannot think of a person who radiated a joy for life more that Dick Payne. And I bet it’s the same for you.

For sixty years our families have been in a loving bond initiated by a shared circumstance of summer fun but built on mutual love. That love cannot fade.

Your Dad was such a mentor to so many of us in every age of life, including me. Teaching me to fish for stripers at the age of six or seven to guiding relationships and how to morn the passing of my own Dad.

Among my favorite stories I regularly tell is fishing with Dick Payne; or walking to the Robinson Road house to introduce our first-born baby one early dawn. Or memories of family gatherings at the Wilson House in Moodus.

Now we mourn, with his counsel and booming voice ringing in the ear of our memory. It is fitting that he go to that heavenly country before those of us a generation younger. I’m confident that his prayers for us, now wholy purified, will benefit everyone of us until we are together again in glory.

Stephen Payne

March 18, 2020

I've had a tough couple of weeks and I'm really feeling loss. First I lost my sister-in-law and then last Thursday I lost my father. Patience isn't exactly my forte or that of my father, but as I mine my memories it was activities that required patience that really bonded us - Sailing, fishing camping, getting shellfish, deer and elk hunting. I have memories of great vividness in all those activities, but sailing seems to take priority. My father taught me so much about life while teaching me sailing. I will forever cherish our times on the water - salt air, the scent of the boat, the snap of the sails, the creak of the boat when coming about, spray on my face, the joy of keeling, laughter, whales, seals, sunsets, shared solitude, the splendor of creation. I miss you dad.

Rick Cram

March 17, 2020

First: Joan, Linda, Molly, Steve and Andy, I'm sending you my love. I am with you.

Richard said to Steve and me one summer day, "Boys, we're getting up tomorrow and heading over to Nauset to fish." We were all for it and asked, "When? What time?" Richard said, "5:30 a.m." It took me only half a minute to pick my jaw up off the floor. After all, I was only 10 years old and the idea of waking that early came as a great shock.

At about 5:35 a.m, the next morning, Steve was knocking on my window while I was sound asleep. "Come on, Rick. Wake up!" I sat up in bed completely surprised, but sprang out from under the covers and bolted out the door with my rod and reel.

Thus begins one of my all-time favorite memories.

While the sun rose over the Atlantic, the first time I ever saw a sunrise, I watched in awe as Richard surf-cast. Time after time ... with each cast ... you could tell he had great skill, but even more a great passion for it. He certainly was angling for a blue or striper, but he was one with nature and happy as a clam.

Steve and I didn't have much luck and we started losing interest. Then things changed. In the surf there was something splashing. It instantly got our attention, then the splashing spread and became a wild scene. We ran down to it and waded only a few feet in to see what was creating this unusual site.

Flounder. Perhaps dozens of flounder, wildly jumping in the surf. So we did what any normal young boys would do, scooped them up with our hands and claimed them for ourselves.

Richard laughed with a wonderful joy at the luck we were having. Steve and I were excited beyond measure. Proud fishermen.

"Who needs a fishing pole, hooks and sandworms?"

I'm looking for the photo of Steve and me on Robinson Road, beaming with smiles as we held up a few strings of perhaps 8 to 10 flounder.

I can picture it though ... clearly ... just like I can picture a thousand other memories wonderfully created by Richard.

Thank God for Richard Payne.

Dawn (Aikman) Dinnan

March 17, 2020

Dear Molly,

Sincere condolences to you and your family. I think of you often, remembering our camp days / sailing adventures... Our paths continue to intersect here on the Cape (my kids are at Lighthouse Charter and I pass your church on the way to work every day).

Your words here moved me so much.... Thinking of you and wishing you comfort in cherished memories of your dad.


Caroline Jones (nee White)

March 17, 2020

Mr Payne was always someone I felt I could go to when I was in Middle School. He was warm and friendly and caring. He also served as a priest at our church in Orleans. He always had a big smile on his face, and his arms were always open for a hug. My deepest condolences to Andy and all the family.

Molly Payne

March 16, 2020

I guess I’ll be the first and get us started. Please know we truly welcome memories shared, to hear from you all, especially during this time we can not have a formal service to be with all the family and friends who loved our father. Also my mom doesn’t check Facebook much but I will be sure to read any postings to her. Please don’t be afraid to share the funny memories too. My father as you all know, had a tremendous sense of humor, that he shared with many of you. One of his great gifts!

One of my dearest memories and gifts from my father is our home and especially spending time with him on our beloved Brewster flats, walking, digging for sea worms, clamming, but mostly just walking and always feeling a deep sense of calm, connection to one another and to the greater spirit of life. My favorite time with him was in the early morning, alone and going down there and feeling like we were the only ones in the world who knew this secret place. Like a portal into a pause with time, to just be, and to be deeply happy.

I will my miss father so much . I love you daddy.


Barbara & Rob Kasper

March 16, 2020

Fr. Payne lived nearby and was a friend of my parents. He officiated at our wedding at the Church of the Holy Spirit in 1980. Over the 40 years my husband and I have been married, I have often thought of his counsel. He told us this: at the beginning, everything is wonderful and you think it will always be like that. It won’t. Then, inevitably, there will be a time when things will be terrible; and you may think all is lost and that your happiness together is at an end. That isn’t true either. Just keep faith and ride the ups and the downs; it will be worth it.
Thank you, Fr. Payne — you were right. 💕