Mary Payson, 83, formerly of Jaffrey Center, NH, died Sunday, July 7, 2013 in Raleigh, NC after a long illness.
Born in Milwaukee, WI on May 1, 1930 to Marion Elizabeth Reindl and Dr. Arthur Harrison Robinson, she spent her early years in Jefferson, WI. She studied at Carlton College in Northfield, MN from 1947-49, graduating in 1951 from the University of Wisconsin, where she was a member and president of the Delta Gamma Sorority.
In August 1951, she married Captain John Olaf Batiste, US Army, in Fort Atkinson, WI. Their service took them to thirteen stations, including Athens, Greece and Tehran, Iran. Mrs. Payson was a student of culture, particularly of the cuisine, language and handicrafts of the Greek and Iranian people, was a consummate hostess, and actively supported the communities in which she lived. Mrs. Payson and Colonel Batiste retired to Jaffrey Center, NH in 1977, where Colonel Batiste died in August 1979.
Mary married William Francis Payson in Peterborough, NH on January 1985. They continued to live in Jaffrey Center where Mary was at the heart of the life of the historic village, serving many terms as president of the Village Improvement Society and the Thorndike Club. Among her efforts were the restoration of the Meetinghouse originally constructed in 1775, the establishment of a museum at the Melville Academy, and the creation of Centennial Park. She served on the Board of Directors of the Jaffrey-Gilmore Foundation and on the Board of the Jaffrey Historical Society. Mary was also devoted to New Hampshire’s natural resources, particularly the high peaks of the White Mountains. Her final hike to Mt. Lafayette along the Franconia Ridge Trail took place in 2004. She was a longtime member of the Appalachian Mountain Club and of its President’s Society.
For many years Mary was a member of the Altar Guild of All Saints Episcopal Church, Peterborough, and was recently a member of Christ Episcopal Church in Raleigh. Mr. Payson died in April 2000. In February 2009, Mrs. Payson moved to Springmoor Life Care Retirement Community in Raleigh, NC.
Mary was predeceased by her parents and husbands. She is survived by a son, Major General John Robinson Batiste, US Army (Retired), and wife Michelle Shachnow-Batiste of Rochester, NY, and a daughter, Elizabeth Mary Batiste Hartzell and husband James Jerome Hartzell of Raleigh, NC. She lovingly passes on her legacy of life and learning to her grandchildren: Jeanette Anne Batiste of Rochester, NY; Dr. Rebecca Cydney Batiste of Philadelphia, PA; Katherine Marie Batiste of Rochester, NY; William David Batiste of Rochester, NY; Michael Harrison Batiste of Rochester, NY; Samuel Batiste Hartzell of Philadelphia, PA; Sarah Day Hartzell of Cambridge, MA; and William Robinson Hartzell of Chapel Hill, NC; and three great grandchildren. Her sister, Cynthia Vonier Oliver Hutchinson of Brookfeld, WI, also survives her, as well as her nephews and niece, Stewart Oliver of Brookfeld, WI, David Oliver of New York, NY, Andrew Oliver of Whitefish Bay, WI, and Katherine Oliver Lee of Hinsdale, IL, and nine great nieces and nephews.
The family is grateful to Fetlework Weldeselasse, Diane Manasseri, My-Hao Tran, Hospice of Wake County, Christ Church and the staff at Stewart Health Center for their compassionate care.
Memorials may be sent to the Veterans Outreach Center, 459 South Avenue Rochester, NY 14620, checks made payable to Veterans Outreach Center, Inc. with "In memory of Mary Payson" in the memo section. Or, visit the website www.veteransoutreachcenter.org/ways-to-help/get-involved/ and enter in the purpose line, "In memory of Mary Payson".
A memorial service will be held in the auditorium at Springmoor, 1500 Sawmill Road, Raleigh, NC on Saturday, July 13 at 1:30, and at All Saints Episcopal Church in Peterborough, NH on Saturday, August 17, 2013 at 11:00. Her remains will be buried in Cutter Cemetery, Jaffrey Center, NH and in Arlington National Cemetery.