A Legacy of Giving: Meredith (Bud) and Winnette Payne

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It was 1945, Colorado Springs, Peterson Field. Meredith was working as an aircraft mechanic and Winnette as a parachute rigger. "I met her in the coffee line and decided to put out my own line and get her hooked," Meredith, also known as "Bud," says. They were married a year later, had Jon their first child, and decided to move to a farm near Timnath so Bud could attend Colorado State University on the G.I. Bill. Susan and Maggie were then added to the family.

Farm life was certainly not foreign to Winnette, who grew up on a homestead in Eastern Colorado. At the age of 15, she began volunteering as a 4-H leader. Bud's family owned a grocery store in Indiana, but he had always loved everything about farm life, from growing crops to working on equipment.

Eventually, his love for agriculture led him to a position with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Fort Collins. Bud worked as a research technician in irrigation and water management for 23 years, and invented several types of water-release valves for automated irrigation systems. He retired in 1990, well past retirement age, but says his job wasn't really work to him because he was fortunate to have been able to do what he truly loved.

Winnette also enjoyed a passionate career in the field of education. After their youngest daughter, Maggie, went to kindergarten, Winnette enrolled at Colorado State University as an English major. After receiving her degree, she taught at Lesher Junior High School and continued her education by earning her Master of Education. She went on to work for the Poudre School District as its language arts coordinator for 10 years, then taught remedial reading at Fort Collins High School for two years.

She may have officially retired in 1987, but Winnette continued teaching at the Education & Life Training Center, where she had been a volunteer teacher when it began as the Volunteers Clearing House 20 years earlier. She has been actively involved in many organizations, including the Poudre Education Association, the Colorado Education Association, the National Education Association, the National Association for Curriculum Development, Phi Delta Kappa, Delta Kappa Gamma, P.E.O. and, on a lighter note, is the Queen of the Les Rouges Chapeaux, a local chapter of the Red Hat Society. Winnette is also writing books, including a summary of phonics - something in which she strongly believes! She is also collaborating on another book about learning to read with dyslexia.

Even though they are retired, Bud and Winnette are able to carry on their lifelong passions through their planned gifts to Colorado State University, both in the form of endowed scholarship funds. Bud's gift will benefit soil and crop sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences, and Winnette's gift will benefit the College of Applied Human Sciences and its teacher licensure programs.

They have also established the Susan E. Payne Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of their daughter, who graduated from Colorado State University's Warner College of Natural Resources. Winnette says Susie was the ultimate example of "persistence pays off." She worked full time and was a nontraditional student for 12 years before earning her degree. Susie died in a kayaking accident in Alaska just two years after graduating, but the Paynes find comfort in the fact that her scholarship funds will enable others to realize their dreams of obtaining college educations as nontraditional students.