Hirbry H. Payton Sr., age 103, answered the Master’s call on Friday, May 7, 2021, at his home in Hudgins, Va. He was born on Nov. 17, 1917 in the Hudgins community, the sixth child of Charles R. Payton and Annie Maude Ferguson Payton.
He was educated at the Rosenwald School and Thomas Hunter School. In 1939, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving faithfully during World War II. After retiring from the Navy, he joined the Merchant Marine. He sailed the world for over 40 years with the U.S. Navy and Merchant Marine.
Hirbry was active in his community as a member of the Mathews Branch of the NAACP, the Silver Leaf Lodge, and the Fleet Reserve, serving as the oldest active member. He was a lifelong member of First Baptist Church of Mathews and served as a deacon and Deacon Emeritus. In 2012, he was honored by the church for his faithful service. The Mathews County Board of Supervisors declared Nov. 17, 2017 as “Hirbry H. Payton Sr. Day” in honor of his 100th birthday.
During his retirement, he had many hobbies including boating, fishing, woodcarving, nautical knot-tying designs, and photography. He also enjoyed gardening with his faithful dog, Lulu, in tow. He volunteered for Meals on Wheels and the Mathews County Electoral Board.
Hirbry was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Violet Smith Payton; his parents, Charles R. and Annie Maude; his brothers, Charles A. (Margaret), Ulysses, and Gilbert (Marjorie), and his sisters, Velma (Archie Forrest), Ethel (John Frank Johnson), and Nannie (Coles Tonkins).
He leaves to celebrate his memories a son, Hirbry Payton Jr. (Lolita); a daughter, Pamela Payton; two grandchildren, Adam (Erin) and Leslie; a great-grandson, Oliver, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, including his neighbors Leslie and Wilnet Willis, and Linda Ware.
A viewing will be held on Friday, May 14 from 5-7 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 9654 Buckley Hall Road, Mathews, Va. 23109. Masks are required for entry and social distancing is mandatory. The funeral will be on Saturday, May 15 at 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church. The burial will be held in the church cemetery.
Arrangements entrusted to Forrest Brothers Funeral Home, Hudgins.