After a full, good life of 93 years, LeRoy Scott Payton passed away peacefully in the company of his wife, Dolores, on April 7, 2023. He will be missed by all who knew him.
Roy was born on July 3, 1929 to Robert and Anna LaBaw Payton in Independence, Missouri at the onset of the Great Depression. That economic disaster and the early death of his father imprinted on him a lifelong empathy for other people’s hardships.
A gifted athlete, Roy was selected for the All-State High School Football Team, and at one time held Missouri state record for the quarter-mile run (though he was always quick to point out that Blacks were unfairly excluded from such awards in those days). An unabashed class clown, he won both acting and track scholarships to the University of Missouri, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and joined the ROTC.
Upon graduation, he served in the Marine Corps, seeing battle in Korea and attaining the rank of Captain. He met the great love of his life, Dolores Ann Rosavage, while stationed at Quantico, Virginia. They married at Parris Island, South Carolina on January 8, 1954. The young couple eventually settled in Madison, New Jersey from where Roy commuted to New York City for many years as one of the proverbial “mad men” in the golden age of magazine advertising sales. He was extraordinarily loving and devoted to his children and grandchildren, who have all inherited his stellar communication skills, extraordinary kindness, and endlessly wry sense of humor.
Roy was an avid reader with an insatiable mind who could, and often did, expound at length on any subject whatsoever. He was particularly passionate about civil rights and proud of the military’s lead on racial integration. He marched for racial equality during the turbulent 1960s. He loved dogs and was a natural trainer; the golden retriever Molly learned to bring him newspapers from every house on the block.
In 1985, Roy and Dolores relocated to Virginia Beach to be near their family and the ocean. Their townhouse near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay was the family gathering place for decades.
For the past seven years, they have resided at Marian Manor (Virginia Beach), the staff of which is exceedingly skillful and compassionate. The family expresses its heartfelt gratitude to them.
Roy is preceded in death by his parents Robert and Anna Payton, brothers Robert and David, and many other friends and family members.
He is survived by: his beloved wife of 69 years, Dolores; sister JoAnne Van Kirk ; children Robert (& Denise), Ann (& Bob), Christopher, Jennifer (& Robbin), Thomas; grandchildren Kimberly (& Mark), Scott (& Courtney), Michelle (& Rodney), Kathryn (& Andy), Michael (& Jenny), Eric, Brian, Julie (& Thomas), Stephen, Samantha, Thomas, Jr.; great-grandchildren Connor and Jack.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Marian Manor (Virginia Beach) staff Christmas fund or Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
A service will be held at Marian Manor. Interment will be at the Albert G. Horton Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk on Monday, June 12th at 11am.
Arrangements are by Altmeyer Funeral Home Maestas Chapel.
Condolences may be offered at www.altmeyerfh.com