Harold Payne was born in Seattle Feb. 21, 1921, to Capt. and Mrs. James Howard Payne. Capt. Harold Payne died June 4, 2002, at his home in Coupeville. Prior to Capt. Payne’s retirement June 1, 1990, he had a long and successful career as a seaman. In the 1940s he was a deckhand aboard an Army launch between Annette Island and Seattle. By 1943, he had received his third mate-ocean license. After World War II, Payne ran the 140-horsepower tug Vesta Miller working log tows out of Seattle. For 11 years, he shuttled barges between Seattle; Valdez, Seward and Anchorage, Alaska, until the Alaska Maritime Highway System signed him on as a second mate. In 1968, when ferries began the Seattle route, Payne received command of the Malaspina. On Saturday, May 22, 1971, a t 3:26 a.m., the Malaspina received a distress call from the Meteor approximately 10 miles north of Sisters Island Light in the Georgia Straits, British Columbia. The Malaspina responded and assisted in rescuing 66 passengers and four crew members from the Meteor which had caught fire.
On July 11, 1989, Capt. Harold Payne, senior captain in the Alaska Marine Highway System, was presented a commendation award by Port Captain Kelly Mitchell making Payne an honorary commodore of the fleet. The citation from Gov. Cowper was in recognition of Capt. Payne’s 25 years of service to the state and his leadership, ship handling and seamanship abilities É “for providing safe, essential service, than is held in the ’highest esteem’ by the management, master, officers and crews.” When interviewed by Joel Rogers of the Alaska Fest, Capt. Payne summed up 40 years of seafaring with one sentence: ’ “Anyone can run a ship through the narrows on a good day and a good tide É He pauses and smiles at me with a steady gaze É ’But try it in snow.’ ”
Capt. Payne had been married to Pauline “Polly” Payne for 35 years. Polly died March 21, 2001. Capt. Harold Payne was a devoted husband to Polly and father to Jeannie Brunnenkant and her husband Sig; Linda Payne-Stoltzfus and her husband Ernie; Marcy Waldo and her husband Dick and Shawn O’Neill and his wife Colleen. He was a loving grandfather to Tami and her husband Dr. Jay Michaelson, Tony Arnold, Scott Arnold, Josie Langendoerfer, Maria and Rem Sackmann and Allen Waldo.
No services will be held at Capt. Payne’s request. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, the family requests contributions to the American Cancer Society or Heart Association. Please sign on-line memorial book at www.everygreen-washelli.com.