Rock Curtis Payne of Holmes Beach passed away December 28, 2012 at Blake Medical Center. Rock was a lifelong resident of Manatee County. He was born in Gillette on October 26, 1929. He attended Palm View Elementary and graduated from Palmetto High School. In 1950 he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, serving in both France and Germany. Rock graduated in 1956 from Florida State University where he met the love of his life and married her soon after. After a short time working for the Atlanta Constitution as a reporter, he returned to Palmetto to become the new editor of the Palmetto News. Later Rock received a Master of Educational Administration from the University of Florida and so started his second career as an educator, although he never forgot his passion for writing and completed his autobiography many years later. He spent the rest of his professional life, over 30 years, as an educator. His first teaching position was in Social Studies at Walker Junior High School in Bradenton. He later served as principal at Parrish Elementary, Samoset Elementary and Bayshore Middle School. He opened Sugg Middle School in 1975 and served there until his retirement in 1988. Rock is survived by his wife of 56 years, Joanne, and two daughters, Jo Nan Payne and Robin Payne Spann (husband Jeffery Spann). His son Rock C. Payne III predeceased him. He was also predeceased by his parents, Fanny Hale Payne and Rock C. Payne Sr. and two sisters, Lois Payne Townsend and Helen Trace. Rock was a wonderful husband and father whose love and devotion to his family will never be forgotten. We will "Hug His Memories"; one chapter complete, another to begin. Graveside services will be held at Fogartyville Cemetery at 2pm on Thursday, January 3, 2012. The Rev. Jerry Jeter of RiverLife Church will officiate. Arrangements handled by Griffith Cline Funeral Home - 720 Manatee Ave West.
Published in The Bradenton Herald on January 1, 2013