BOSTON – Gary J. Payne, 68, died at Massachusetts General Hospital, after a brave struggle with heart disease. He was taken into God’s loving arms on Feb. 15. He was the beloved husband of Phyllis (Chaput) Payne.

He was born Feb. 7, 1941, in Manchester, Conn., the son of the late Merrill A. and Anelia (Brazaukas) Payne. He graduated from Braintree high school, Braintree, Mass., and Castleton State College, Castleton, Vt. From 1965 to 1968 he served in the U.S. Army in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

He pursued a career in the insurance industry and worked throughout New England. In 1979, Gary and his family settled in Windham, while he was employed by Morse, Payson and Noyes of Portland as a claims supervisor. He later joined Ringler Associates of Newport Beach, Calif., and opened an office in Portland, before moving it to Windham, where he worked as an annuity broker for more than 20 years, until his retirement.

He was a former resident of Salem, Mass. He lived in Windham for 10 years and Standish for 20 years. He and his wife also had a winter residence in Englewood, Fla.

Gary will always be remembered for his love of family. His favorite song was “We Are Family,” which he played as often as possible at family events. Making new and cultivating old friendships became the hobby he most enjoyed in life. He loved spirited conversations, which explored politics, history, current events, business and economics. He loved golf, traveling, fishing and his dog, Maggie.

Gary always enjoyed boating. From his dad’s old pontoon boat to his own speedboat, “The Dreamweaver,” on Long Lake in Bridgton. He was looking forward to christening his new boat, the “Dreamweaver II,” this year. Gary would cruise the intercoastal waterway and enjoyed lounging on the gulf shore with his wife, children and grandchildren. His retirement years spent in Englewood, Fla. as a snowbird were enjoyed for six years. Each year they could not wait to return to Gasparilla.

Eager to give of his time, he was involved in many organizations during his lifetime. He was a past member of the Knights of Columbus, the Elks and the Windham Democratic Committee. He was a member of the Windham Town Council and served as chairman for two years. He was on the board of directors at Mercy Hospital, Portland, and was the vice president of the board of directors of the Gasparilla Condo Assoc. in Englewood, Fla. Gary was also on the board of directors for Westbrook Community Hospital, Westbrook, from 1990 to 1999, serving as president from 1996 to 1997 and was a communicant of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Windham.

A devoted son, husband, father, grandfather and nephew, Gary had a special joy of life that was contagious. He was an optimist, a man of faith and will be greatly missed by all who loved him.

He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Phyllis (Chaput) Payne originally of Salem, Mass.; his daughter, Christine Koza and her husband, Michael, and their sons, Brendan and Dylan of Raymond; two sons, Bryan Payne and his wife, Alison (Faucher), and their children, Samuel and Abigail of Tampa, Fla., and Kenneth Payne and his fiancée, Amber Blasi, of Ft. Collins, Colo.; a brother, Ronald Payne and his wife, Mary, and their son, Michael of Dracut, Mass.; a sister, Marilyn Roe and her husband, Peter, and their son, Aaron Bos and his wife, Brynne, and their daughter, Arwen Bos of Memphis, Tenn.; a brother-in-law, Raymond Chaput and his wife, Patricia, of Savannah, Ga.; a sister-in-law, Janet Zwinski and her husband, Thomas, of Springfield, Mass.; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

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