Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “When a great man dies, for years the light he leaves behind him lies on the paths of men.” And surely in our hearts.
This week the community of Leduc and surrounding areas mourns the untimely loss of a great man in the passing of one of our beloved community members and friends, Namand Payne. Namand passed from this world after a valiant fight with brain cancer. He was just 37 years of age. A Celebration of Namand’s Life was held at Gateway Family Church in Leduc on July 18th at 10 a.m. He leaves to cherish his memory, Gina, his loving wife of 10 years, and his three wonderful children, Tayvien 8, Brooklyn 6, and Tyreece 5, as well as an entire community of family and friends .
Payne, whose giant frame, ready smile, and gentle demeanor sowed comfort and encouragement throughout our community, at every turn, and at every event, for almost 30 years has gone home to his Maker, but the light of his remarkable connectedness lingers in the legacy of greatness he left behind.
Taken in his prime, Payne’s light and legacy now illuminate for us lessons upon which to fix our hearts. As in life, so in death, Namand Payne taught and set an exemplary example of how to live life dedicated to the service of others.
With heavy hearts we reflect upon his life and the important lessons he imparted. The first of which is character.
In countless ways Payne taught that integrity, hard work, commitment and humility are the hallmarks of greatness. Not only did he demonstrate this as a basketball player growing up in Leduc, Namand dedicated himself as a business man to always serve first the welfare and wellbeing of others. He taught caring and respect.
The tremendous outpouring of grief and emotion at Payne’s passing is testament to the genuine caring and respect he showed to countless members of the community but also to his widespread sphere of influence throughout the world. This was evident over his more than two year battle with brain cancer as thousands of people from across the globe prayed for this remarkable man and in return were inspired by his steadfast faith. Non- believers began attending church, while others, many complete strangers, would appear at his bedside offering prayers and support more often leaving touched and inspired by their visit and the time they spent with him.
He taught the value of connectedness
Payne’s network of people he cared about was astounding. He continuously made a point of keeping in contact with people from his past, fellow students, teachers, and friends celebrating their victories, mourning their sorrows, taking time to connect. In a technology-driven world where meaningless connection is becoming a lost art, he made time for people. And people loved him for it.
Perhaps the greatest lesson he left behind is the unassailable power of one. Death, while daunting, is an inescapable quotient of life. How we pass each of these precious days of living really does matter. One individual literally can change the world-one person at a time. There is no question that Namand Payne’s passing is testament to the difference one caring, committed, giving person can make in the space of oh so little time.
In the tradition of all great mentors, Namand Payne leaves us a legacy of honour, devotion, caring, and a steadfast faith that transcends the ages and defies even death. In our grief, let us be reminded that the best way to honour him would be to carry forward in the things that mattered most to him.
May you rest in peace, oh faithful servant.