Mervin Leon Payton, 91, passed away peacefully on November 2, 2023, with family lovingly by his side.
Born November 25, 1931 to Thomas Bennett and Della Mae (Atwood) Payton, Mervin lived his rambunctious young life in Mitchell Indiana. Growing up during the depression he often spoke fondly about working in the apple and peach orchards in Mitchell. Later in life he made his living as a carpenter and mason.
After marrying Evelyn Ruth McNeely he was drafted into the U.S. Army where he served with the 33rd Field Artillery Regime in Bamberg, Germany as a corporal. He was proud of his country and respected those who gave of themselves to fight for our freedoms.
Mervin had a quick wit to him. He chose to see the positive side of people and situations. He was an honest, hard working man. He believed in being a good neighbor and citizen. Throughout Mitchell and all surrounding communities you can see his skillset as a bricklayer, mason and carpenter. Along with building many private homes in the area as well as many public and municipal buildings, he helped construct the Virgil I. Grissom memorial and monument along with the refurbishment of the Mitchell Opera House. He issued land to the VFW and constructed Post 9107 off of highway 60. Mervin and his wife opened the Dairy Bell on highway 60 where they proudly served the community with burgers and ice cream. He believed in giving his community his business before he would take it elsewhere and was a regular customer of Holmes Hardware and Crawford Morris Lumber Company. He not only banked at 1st National Bank but he also bricked it to look like it does today. His talents did not end at a trowel but also with pencil in hand he loved creating amazing pictures of scenery.
In his younger years he enjoyed fishing as he would make his own sinkers and lure. He also enjoyed bee keeping and was happy to share the honey with his neighbors. He owned several steel guitars and played his tunes by ear with no formal training. Mervin believed staying active was crucial and slowing down was never an option. In later years Mervin loved all of his grandchildren and enjoyed keeping up with their antics. He spent time reminiscing about the past and handing out advice. He was loved and had many memorable outings with his wonderful companion Janice Chastain.
Surviving are his children; Myra Gail (Brad) King of Wisconsin, Debra Jo (Jim) Neideffer of Loogootee, and Sheryl Ann (Kevin) Grow of Columbus along with nine grandchildren; 19 great grandchildren; and two great great grandchildren. A loving sister, Rosetta Arnold also survives along with companion Janice Chastain.
Preceding him in death was his loving wife, Evelyn Ruth (McNeely) Payton, and siblings; Marie Richason, Clyde Payton, Hollace Payton, Margie Massengill, and Floyd Payton.
Graveside service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, November 12th, at Mitchell Cemetery with Brother Greg Isom officiating. Military rites will be accorded by the American Legion Post 250 and VFW Post 9107. A celebration of life reunion is planned at a later date with details to be determined.
Memorial gifts: Our Hospice of South Central Indiana.