Navy vet who died of COVID in Philippines remembered for love of animals, service

·3 min read
Timothy Payne
Timothy Payne

This obituary is part of “We Will Remember,” a series about those we’ve lost to the coronavirus.

Timothy Payne served in the Navy, worked for the Army, cared for animals, dabbled in photography and carpentry and loved to brag about his kids.

Payne lived in Warren for more than 30 years before moving to his retirement home in the Philippines, where died earlier this year.

He was 75.

Payne died June 19 of complications from COVID-19 at OSPA-Farmers Medical Center in Ormoc City, Philippines.

Born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, Payne graduated from North High School and Wichita State University. He enrolled in the U.S. Navy and served until 1971 and then served as a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy Reserve until 1992.

While serving in the Navy Reserve, he worked as a computer systems analyst for the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command, retiring in 2004.

Payne resided in Texas and California before moving with his family to Michigan, where he and his wife raised two children.

Timothy with his wife Rose on her birthday in 2011.
Timothy with his wife Rose on her birthday in 2011.

Payne was married for 49 years to Rose Codog, whom he met while working at a school where she was a foreign exchange student.

Catherine Flores, Payne’s daughter, described her father as a quiet and selfless man who spoke highly of his children every chance he had.

In his early years, Payne engaged in amateur photography, often using one of the bathrooms in his home as a dark room.

He was an animal lover and donated to many anti-cruelty organizations, according to Flores, who said their home over the years housed birds, rabbits, dogs, cats and ferrets.

Payne was an avid boater and loved to fish, read Sci-Fi novels and listen to music, especially Elvis.

He was good with his hands and used his carpentry skills to build tables and shelves. He developed a passion for train sets and collected Lionel trains, Flores noted.

Tim with his family. 1982.
Tim with his family. 1982.

For about 10 years, the couple split their time between Michigan and the Philippines to build their retirement home in Ormoc City, where they moved in 2008.

In 2012, the couple started the process of adopting their third child, Sophia Payne, who was 3 years old at the time.

In his retirement, Payne won awards for his photography projects and found a new passion as a member of Sanctus Vincenzus Scholarship Foundation in Ormoc City, helping to send low-income students to college.

Payne, who had high blood pressure and diabetes went to the hospital with a skin infection on April 28. While there he found out that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

Less than two weeks after being released from the hospital, Payne felt like he was coming down with a cold. It progressed quickly and after struggling to breathe, he was taken back to the hospital and admitted to the critical care unit where he was put on a respirator.

Payne who wasn’t vaccinated, started showing signs of improvement and was cleared to eat what he wanted, Flores noted, but two days later he regressed dramatically and was put on a ventilator. He died the next day.

"My dad did everything he could to get the vaccine once it was available in the Philippines," Flores said, "but it was not widely available."

He was interred the same day that he died, as is the COVID protocol in the Philippines, Flores said.

Payne is survived by his wife; children Robert (Lindsey) Payne and Catherine (Cristobal) Flores and Sophia Payne; grandchildren Connor, Bryce, Gloria and Lydia; and nieces and nephews.

If you have a family member or close friend who has died from COVID-19 and you would like to share their story, please visit our memorial wall and select “Share a story.”

Brendel Hightower is an assistant editor at the Detroit Free Press. Contact her at bhightower@freepress.com.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Navy vet who died of COVID in Philippines loved animals, kids

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