David Payne



December 1, 1960 — December 15, 2020

David Harry Payne, 60, passed away at his home after a brief bout with cancer on December 15, 2020. He was born Dec. 1, 1960, in La Grande, Oregon, to Harry and Marie Payne.

David grew up in La Grande, Oregon, where he completed high school in 1979. He went on to attended Eastern Oregon State College completing his Bachelor of Arts in Music with an endorsement to teach.

His lifelong love of music was formed early when he heard a song by Herb Alpert on the radio at around the age of 6. David was hooked! The trumpet became his passion. He endlessly pursued to play as well as Herb. As an accomplished trumpet player, David contributed to a variety of musical groups within the community. He played at different times during his career with the Eastern Oregon Symphony, Happy Canyon Band, and in various Dixieland bands. He also directed pit bands and played for many College Community Theater productions.

Music was David’s life. He dedicated 30 years of his life to teaching music. He was an amazing middle school and high school band director. He inspired thousands of students to cultivate the art of music throughout the Pilot Rock and Pendleton school districts. David was awarded the Crystal Apple Award for excellence in education in 2011. Because he was proud of the award, he kept it on top of his piano in the living room. He was always proud to be a part of the young lives in his community. He was generous with his time and energy for his students. He always found a way to make sure all of his students had what they needed to succeed in music, whether it was fixing instruments, repairing books or digging deep in the store room for an instrument. He always wanted his students to be successful.

He enjoyed exploring the natural beauty of Eastern Oregon. His view from the deck of his home provided beautiful views of wildlife and nature. He also enjoyed leisurely spending summer evenings in engaging discussions dedicated to existential musings and all things Herb Alpert. He loved spending time with his three “fur” children Lily, Ruby and Sophie.

Forever humble in the face of admiration, David was beloved by colleagues, students, parents, and the Pendleton community. His fusion of passionate intensity, genuine care for others, and sense of humor concerning the human condition resonated among countless friends and family members across the years.

David is survived by his wife, Barbara; mother, Marie of Pendleton; brothers, Mike and John of La Grande; daughter, Christine of San Diego; numerous nieces and nephews; stepdaughters, Rynn Cooper (Tim) of Pendleton and Jorden Johnson of Benton City; and three granddaughters. He is also survived by his two companions, Ruby and Sophie, his furry kids. He is preceded in death by his father, Harry Payne, and his faithful, dog Lili.

He also leaves behind all the GOONBUCKETS and his Sunridge Middle School family.

Donations in David’s memory can be made to Sunridge Middle School music department to help students receive musical instruments, band books, or other things needed to help students achieve a goal in all things related to music.

An informal gathering will be held in David’s honor at a later date.

Burns Mortuary of Pendleton is in charge of the arrangements. Sign the online guestbook at http://www.burnsmortuary.com.

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