Clara "Claire" East Payne, of Huntsville, born August 23, 1928, died peacefully at home June 13, 2021, at the age of 92. Mrs. Payne was born in Glencoe, Alabama to the late Charles A. East, early settler of Glencoe and founder of East Quarry Company, and Josie Lee Wakefield East. Born in an age when few women received a higher education or went into business, Claire was a true pioneer. She received her bachelor's degree from Huntington College and subsequently excelled in ventures in the fields of administration, healthcare, interior design, and real estate development. Mrs. Payne became the first female president of the Huntsville/Madison County Builders Association. She and her husband were responsible for developing some sixty subdivisions across Huntsville and the surrounding areas, reshaping and modernizing North Alabama. Mrs. Payne was predeceased by her daughter, Kimberley Wakefield Newton, her sisters, Mary East Yarbrough, Carolyn East Marker, and her brother, Ted R. East. She is survived by her best friend, business partner, and husband of 44 years, George Hunter Payne; and his children, Burt Payne (Diane), Jim Payne (Laura), Elizabeth Payne, and Hunter Payne. Claire is also survived by nieces, nephews, and a large group of supportive friends. The Payne family would like to thank Mrs. Payne's caregivers, Santana Guzman, Joyce Hereford, Marie Marrs, Kamree Lands, and Comfort Care Hospice. They made Claire's final days comfortable and tranquil. Claire will be laid to rest in a private service at Maple Hill cemetery. The family thanks her many friends and family for their support and requests that donations be made to the Greater Huntsville Humane Society in lieu of flowers.
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Published by The Huntsville Times from Jun. 15 to Jun. 16, 2021.