Children vow to carry on the legacy of ‘unsung hero’, Tim Payne

Family and former colleagues lovingly remember the multi-talented Timothy Anderson Payne, who died on Friday. (Photo courtesy family)
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By Theresa Goodwin
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“Timothy Anderson Payne was a selfless man who had amazing values which he instilled in his two children. He really left an indelible mark on the society,” said Krysten and Keanna Payne, who currently reside in Canada, as they paid tribute to their recently deceased father.

The prolific journalist, photographer, and former educator, died last Friday following stroke-related complications, according to his family members. He was 62 years old.

“Tim”, or “T Payne”, as he was affectionately called, was a proud son of the Barnes Hill Community, a skilled photographer who owned the Reflexion Photo Studio, and also the author of several published books.

He was a veteran broadcaster, with several decades of experience, who contributed significantly, and consistently, to the development of the local media landscape.

He was also the former managing editor of the defunct Antigua Sun Newspaper and Sun St Kitts, and later formed his own news publication, News Pages.

Keanna, the younger of Payne’s two children, admitted, with a slight chuckle that “Daddy loved both of his children, equally. Naturally, he also spoke to me more because I am the most annoying one and also the baby who recently finished school and is currently in search of a job.

“We are so blessed and fortunate to have a father like Timothy Payne. Daddy was so powerful. He had amazing values … both of us will go through life thinking what he would so or say in any given situation,” she stated.

She also added that the former history teacher at St Joseph Academy (SJA) was an educator at heart, both inside and outside of the classroom, and naturally he had a keen interest in ensuring that everyone around him gained knowledge and wisdom.

Over the last few years, Payne had invested much time and effort in creating a lasting cultural space at the Reservoir and Park in the Barnes Hill Community, a project with the two-fold aim of restoring the old reservoir and providing additional water storage for the village.

The project is being led by the Barnes Hill Community Development Organisation (BHCDO) of which Payne was one of the founding members.

According to Keanna, this is a legacy which will be continued by the family.

“My brother and I will ensure the reservoir project is completed to what my father wanted. He had a vision for it and we would make sure that it is followed even if we have to travel to Antigua to get it done. He wanted the project to serve the entire community. He would always say there are so many talented people in Barnes Hill who do not have the platform to harvest those talents.”

In addition to seeing through the community-based project, Kyrsten intends to preserve and safeguard his father’s prized photo collection.

“I want to continue his photo gallery; I want to keep that strong and make it all digital. The reservoir project too, that was something that was nothing and he turned it into something beautiful,” he told Observer.

Krysten, a former student of the SJA, also described his father as a great man who was also a very strict educator.

He disclosed that he initially attended the Antigua Grammar School and later the SJA, but by that time his father had left that institution.

However, despite his father’s absence, he almost never got away from being branded “T Payne’s son”.

“I carried that brand until I grew into my own. He was a great man; I could also tell that, based on the outpouring of love and support that I have received from the young men that also looked up to him,” Krysten said.

The deceased’s wife and long-term friend, Angela Isaac Payne, said the family members are doing their best to cope with the sad news by celebrating “Tim’s” rich legacy.

Isaac Payne said when her husband took ill last Monday and was rushed to the Mount St John’s Medical Centre, little did they know that he would have died.

“It’s still very shocking, I never expected that this was going to happen,” she said.

She added that Tim was full of life and had a passion for writing and taking photographs.

“I think I got to know Antigua while we were dating, just going around and taking pictures. He used to take me to a lot of weddings for people who I did not know because he was the photographer. He used to just drive about and just take pictures and then we would go into the studio to develop them.”

The mother of Tim’s two children said he also had an incredible bond with his children, especially his daughter.

Meantime, hundreds of residents, including former students and former co-workers have reacted on social media to the passing of the local icon.

Former layout editor of Antigua Sun, Assata Isaac Roberts described the deceased as “an unsung hero” and a very easy-going person; former Sun Manager, Franklyn Maynard lauded Tim as someone who knew his craft and was easily approachable; photographer Skip Lewis said that he was shocked on hearing the sad news; and former Antigua Sun editor, Andy Liburd stated that the best way to celebrate Tim’s life was to continue his work, knowing that he never pressed pause when it came to adding to the cultural landscape of Antigua and Barbuda, despite overwhelming challenges.

Adding to his many hats,Tim was also instrumental in opening and operating the Museum of Fine Arts and Photography at the Multipurpose Cultural Centre a few years ago. The exhibition was an avenue to showcase his work in photography and other works of art that depict the rich history of Antigua and Barbuda and all those who contributed to it.

His latest project was a biography on Calypso Monarch, Sir McLean “King Short Shirt” Emmanuel, which was expected to be launched this month.

Tim is survived by his wife, two children and nine siblings; his parents died while he was still a young boy.

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