On April 8th, Caleb Johnn Payne, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend passed away at the age of 93. Caleb was born in Lodgepole, Nebraska, to James David Payne and Gertrude Swartze Folkerts Payne. After graduating from Lodgepole High School in 1949, Caleb served with the United States Army in Korea. When he arrived home, he began work with Wheatbelt Public Power District in Sidney, NE, and was reunited with Wanda Lenz whom he married in 1953. They raised four children, Susie, Jim, Mark & Brenda. After 15 years with Wheatbelt Public Power, the couple moved to Gering, NE, in 1966 and Caleb went to work for the Bureau of Reclamation, Gering office, which later became Western Area Power Administration. Caleb retired in 1990, and he and Wanda began enjoying their retirement years. They have been married for 69 years. 

Caleb’s passion for the outdoors was evident to all who knew him.  His favorite place was anywhere outside, and he pursued interests in hunting, fishing, and boating. In his later years, he picked up golf and gardening which again led him outdoors. He often said he felt closest to God when viewing nature, and enjoyed taking drives just to find a new road and look around.

Caleb was known for his sense of humor, his compassion for helping a person down on their luck, and his easy going temperament. He loved to bowl, and play cribbage, often participating in cribbage tournaments at the American Legion, Post 36. Caleb served in the Color Guard, helped with fundraisers, and enjoyed many hours with the veterans there.

Caleb is survived by his devoted wife, Wanda (Lenz) Payne; sons Jim (Deb) Payne, Mark (Lori) Payne; and daughter Brenda (Steve) Jennings. Caleb has 5 grandchildren, and 8 great grand children, and 1 great great grandson. He was preceded in death by his infant daughter, Susie; parents, James and Gertrude; sisters, Mary Lou Hunt, Viola Synove; brother, Kenneth Payne.

The entire family would like to express their gratitude to the Western Nebraska Veteran’s Home staff for their loving care. They share so much of themselves as they care for the residents, and devote themselves to a job that requires tireless amounts of energy, love, support, humor, and patience.

Caleb and Wanda have been members of Calvary Lutheran Church for over 50 years, and Caleb donated his time whenever needed. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to Calvary Lutheran Church, 17 E 27th St., Scottsbluff, NE, 69361.  Cards may be sent to Wanda Payne, 1102 W 42nd, Apt. 124, Scottsbluff, NE, 69361.

Memorial services will be held on Saturday, April 15, 2023 at 10:00 am at Calvary Lutheran Church with Pastor Ed Hunzeker officiating. Military honors will be provided by the Nebraska Army National Guard and American Legion Post #36, Gering. Inurnment will be Saturday, April 15, 2023 at 2:30 pm at Weyerts Cemetery in Lodgepole, Nebraska.

Fond memories and condolences may be shared at www.dugankramer.com for the Payne family.  Dugan Kramer Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.