February 2, 1936 – March 21, 2020
Saturday morning Shirley was met at Heaven’s gate by her mother, father, family, friends, and the words, “Well done good and faithful servant!” She lived her life to serve the Lord and is now with Him for eternity.
Shirley was born in Elizabeth City, N.C. She attended Central High School (no surprise that she was voted Most Beautiful and Best Dressed) and Asbury College, Wilmore, KY. Her life changed one Sunday morning in October 1955 when a young sailor from South Texas walked through the doors of Evangelical Methodist Church and saw her singing a duet with her best friend, Ann. He knew in that moment that one day he would marry her. That was the beginning of a love story that lasted 63 years. On February 16, 1957, Lee and Shirley exchanged vows in a double wedding ceremony with Ann Ferrell and Irvin Cullens. Twenty-five years later they celebrated their Silver Anniversary together in Hawaii and, in another twenty-five years, their Golden Anniversary on an Alaskan Cruise. It is a friendship that has endured these many years.
In 1959 Shirley and Lee moved to McAllen, Texas, and Shirley accepted a position with McAllen State Bank. They first attended People’s Chapel and later Magic Valley Baptist Church where the Payton Trio was formed. The third member of the trio was named . . . Joyce. Over the years they sang in church services, revivals, on local radio, and special events throughout the area. It was in McAllen that a family of two became a family of three. The original plan was to return to Elizabeth City, but the Lord had other plans and in 1965 they moved to Jackson, MS. Over the years Shirley worked in the accounting and payroll departments of Allstate Insurance and Lampton-Love, Inc., but she will be most remembered for her kindness and generosity to others.
In 1966 Shirley and Lee joined the First Congregational Methodist Church, Jackson, MS, now Lakeshore Congregational Methodist Church, Bryam, MS. For over 40 years she was a dedicated member of the choir, Sunday School, and other ministries. She was always one of the first to say “yes” when volunteers were needed and one of the first to reach out to church families in need.
Anyone who knew Shirley for any length of time reaped the benefits of her talents in the kitchen. Cooking was her favorite hobby and one way that she showed love and support for others. She loved hosting family and friends, sparing no attention to detail. She was especially known for her beautiful cakes and pies, but it was her chocolate chip cookies that were a fan favorite. For those who did not know Shirley well, it may come as a surprise that she liked fast cars, preferably those with a V8. Her favorites where her GTO, Grand Prix, Luxury Le Mans, and her Cougars. Shirley drove with a purpose!
While this obituary is to honor Shirley’s life, her daughter, Joyce Ann, wants to acknowledge the selfless dedication of her father. For the past ten years he has devoted himself to Shirley’s care, beautifully honoring his vow of “for better or worse, in sickness and in health, til death do us part.” He was relentless in his efforts to ensure that she received the best care available. His days started and ended at the nursing home. He was there to see Shirley, but also to make sure her each and every need was being met to his satisfaction. Still, not satisfied that he was doing all he could for Shirley, he learned how to style her hair and went to a department store on three occasions for lessons on how to properly apply her makeup. Although she was not aware, it was important to Lee that she maintain a measure of dignity and this became part of his daily routine. Only now will she learn the truth depth of Lee’s love for her. Shirley’s family is grateful to those who have provided medical care or offered unending support over the past ten years. To Mrs. Jewel Williams, a simple thank you is not enough to express our gratitude for the love and compassion that you showed Shirley. With your assistance, she was able to remain at home with Lee for a longer period of time. To Chris Turner, Clinton Health Care Administrator, and his entire staff, thank you for everything you did to ensure Shirley’s well-being and comfort.
To Debra and Warner Watson, you are family. Shirley loved “Debbie” like a daughter and over the years Debbie and Warner have returned that love to the Payton and Moak families in a multitude of ways. To Verlin Cook, thank you for your love and continuing support. Your thoughtfulness and acts of kindness have brightened our days and lifted our spirits. To those prayer warriors who continued to keep Shirley and Lee in their prayers, thank you. There were times when your prayers revealed themselves in just the right moment.
Shirley is survived by her husband, Lee; her daughter, Joyce Ann (son-in-law, Henry Moak); sister, Barbara Cooper; niece, Sharon Cooper; sister-in-law, Jo Ann Ray; and nephew, Mitchell Ray. A special thank you to Jo Ann, Lee’s sister, who has traveled to Mississippi from Texas numerous times over the years to help our family weather the storms. She is strong, wise, and deeply loved. Shirley is pre-deceased by her mother, Lillie Mae Bundy; her father, Robert Fletcher Bundy; and her brother, Robert Bundy.
In light of restrictions that are now in place due to the Coronavirus, there will be a family only service Wednesday morning at Parkway Funeral Home in Madison, MS. In lieu of food or flowers, you may wish to consider a contribution to the Alzheimer’s Association at 225 N. Michigan Ave Floor 17 Chicago, IL 60601 in memory of Lee’s sweet Shirley. Notifications of contributions will be sent to Lee Payton in c\o Parkway Funeral Home, 1161 Highland Colony Parkway, Madison, MS, 39157.
- Private Mausoleum Service Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Ronald and Nellie Mae Davis
March 25, 2020
So sorry, for the pain that you bear and the loss you're feeling right now... We have a lot of good memories and know that we will see her again. Praying God will grant you peace at this difficult time.
Ann and Irvin Cullens
March 24, 2020
Many, many, years ago in the little county of Pasquotank, NC, Shirley and Lee became the great friends with Ann and myself, so much that we decided to have a double wedding. Lee remained here for a short while but decided it was time to head home to Texas and to further his education, we missed them so much but what was to be, was. We got together on our anniversaries each five years. We never forgot each other and have been steadfast friends these 63 year. We loved Lee and Shirley as if they were our brother and sister, and they were in Christ. Shirley may have left us but we will see her again as we walk the Golden Streets of Glory, on that Great Getting Up Day.
Ann and Irvin Cullens
Elizabeth City, NC
March 24, 2020
Shirley was a very sweet and special friend to me . Our offices at Lampton- Love were next to each other. One day Shirley used reconnaissance for recognizance, so it became an ongoing joke between us. Well, I’m sure Shirley got through Heaven’s gates on her own “reconnaissance “. God blessed me when He brought Shirley into