GIBSONBURG, Ohio — Harold Payne, a Gibsonburg resident who took a leave of absence from his factory job to serve in the Peace Corps in Chile, with detours to Geneva and Milan on behalf of the United Nations, died Friday at St. Catherine’s Care Center in Fostoria.
Mr. Payne, 85, died from heart failure, said his wife, Patricia.
Mr. Payne was a tool-and-die maker at Allied Signal in Fostoria when he answered the call to volunteer for the newly created Peace Corps.
His son, Patrick, said his father “felt his life was unfulfilled … and felt he owed something back to the country.”
He was born Dec. 7, 1927, in Kansas City to Francis and Marie Payne. He moved to Toledo as a child, then to Gibsonburg, where he graduated from high school in 1945.
A year later, he went to work for Allied Signal in Fostoria. He did not attend college but was self-taught in the skilled trades, his son said.
In 1965, he entered the Peace Corps, undergoing training at Arizona State University and Puerto Rico.
He was in the Peace Corps’ second class, the first that took volunteers in the trades, his son said. The Peace Corps, run by the federal government, was set up in 1960 by President John F. Kennedy, who challenged students to work in developing countries in the cause of peace and friendship.
The Peace Corps sent him to Chile, where he was assigned to help small and medium industries resolve problems with machinery, his son said.
While in Santiago, he met Patricia Correa, whom he married there.
The couple met at a U.S. Embassy function in Santiago, Patricia said, adding that neither of them had thoughts of marriage before they met.
But, she said, “It was love at first sight.”
The couple returned to Gibsonburg in 1967 and to his job at Allied Signal after his two-year commitment, but a year later the Chilean president requested he return to assist in further training and problem solving for manufacturers, his wife said.
His skill in Spanish, which he learned in his Peace Corps training, led him to translate technical manuals used by manufacturers there, his wife said.
He was sent to Geneva and Milan for brief training with the U.N.’s International Labor Office.
The couple returned to Gibsonburg for good after the second, three-year stint in Chile. He retired from Allied Signal Autolite in 1991.
Mr. Payne enjoyed fishing, and he learned to fly in Fremont and Toledo. He bought an airplane to gain faster access to Canada and its fishing, his son said.
“He loved Canada. It was a second home to him,” his wife said.
Mr. Payne is survived by his wife, Patricia; son Patrick; daughter Rosemarie Payne, and two grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. Wednesday at Herman-Kinn-Veh Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Gibsonburg, where a celebration of life will begin at 8 p.m. Memorials are suggested to the Cherry Street Mission in Toledo or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
Contact Jim Sielicki at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6050.
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