Alberta June Payne, age 93, passed away on December 9, 2019. Alberta, the fourth of eight children (five boys and three girls), was born to George and Murna (Smith) Cashmore in Hastings, Michigan on May 12, 1926. Alberta was preceded in death by her husband of seventy years, Daniel. When Alberta was eight years old, her mother died in childbirth. Her father died of a heart attack four years later and the children then went to live with their grandmother. When she became too ill to care for them, Alberta, who was then twelve years old, was adopted by Clyde and Delia Leonard. Times were difficult during the WWII years, and at age seventeen, Alberta began supporting herself by working as a machine operator in a printing company in Kalamazoo. Daniel Payne had first met Alberta when he was thirteen and she was the newly adoped twelve year old daughter of the Leonards. Their friendship eventually developed into ‘keeping company’. They were separated in 1943 when Dan entered the army, serving in France. When Dan returned from active duty in 1946, he and Alberta were married. They were 21 and 20 years old. Dan passed away in 2016. These past three years, Alberta has dearly missed him. Alberta was an accomplished cook. Nobody made a better pie crust or raspberry pie than mom, according to her son John. Alberta was a loving and caring mother, always putting her husband and son first. Alberta is survived by her son, John (Kathleen), three grandchildren, Christopher (Kristyn), Julie Gallagher (Brandon), Jessica Blacklock (Jimmy), and six great grandchildren, Logan Payne, Brooks Gallagher, Hazel Blacklock, Emily Gallagher, Ellie Blacklock and Lucy Blacklock. Alberta is also survived by two sisters, Viola Willard and Mary Houseman. There will be a private family memorial service. Burial will be at Fort Custer National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions to a Kalamazoo area food bank will be appreciated. Please visit www.williamsgoresfuneral.com to share a memory or to leave a condolence message for Alberta’s family.
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