Elmer Verne Payne age 95 of Coloma, passed away peacefully and went to his heavenly home on Monday February 1, 2021 at Harris Villa Living Center in Westfield. He was born October 13, 1925 in Richfield Township, Adams. He was one of 3 children and the only boy, born to Erwin and Louise (Hamilton) Payne. He farmed with his dad on the family farm through his school years. He was baptized and confirmed in 1946 by the Rev Edgar Engleking at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Coloma.
Elmer married his high school sweetheart Anita Ploetz on June 21, 1947 at St. Paul’s Church in Coloma and they were married for 69 years. He worked as a heavy equipment operator for Mathy Road Construction and came back to Coloma upon the death of his father-in-law in 1951, to run the service station he owned along with a bulk plant and delivery truck. He built the business over the years and became President of Coloma Oil Co, as a jobber for Citgo and Standard Oil Products. He developed a bulk petroleum packaging plant along with being a wholesaler of tires and batteries. He owned and operated multiple Convenience Stores throughout central WI along with semi-trucks to deliver petroleum products around WI. He sold the business and retired in 1985.
Elmer was a member of the Coloma Fire Department, a charter member of the Coloma Lions Club which started in 1971 and received the honored Melvin Jones Award for volunteerism, and a member of the Coloma Historical Society. They joined Immanuel Lutheran Church in Westfield in 1966 where he was active in the Lutheran Layman’s League and became an international officer for the state of WI.
They loved to travel and covered all 50 states including Canada and Mexico. Most of those trips were to attend the International Lutheran Laymen’s League Conventions. They made a trip around the world touring many countries; they took many cruises and a family trip to Europe.
They were avid campers and belonged to a camping group known as Roche-a-bye Acres in Arkdale, WI for many years. The group purchased land on the Roche-a-Cri River and worked to turn it into a beautiful family camp ground. The group consisted of close friends from WI Rapids and Coloma. They spent most of their free summer time there. After retirement they wintered in Harlingen, TX for many years where he started making clocks out of tree trunks. They also became active in the Lutheran Church in San Benito, TX.
They were very active in the Lutheran Church Camp LuWiSoMo at Wild Rose. They took a trip with friends to Latvia in Europe to tour the area and saw the enormous need for aid. As a result the organization called Orphan Grain Train was developed. This organization is active distributing humanitarian aid domestically and internationally. In January the organization was 30 years old and the group continues to work diligently to collect, pack and ship containers around the world to those areas in need.
Elmer will be remembered for practicing his Christian values of honesty, sharing his talents of time and money, kindness, hope and love to his family and everyone he met.
Elmer was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, parents and in-laws Emil and Lydia (Otto) Ploetz, a sister Doris (Payne) Sigourney, brother-in-law Donald Sigourney, sister Verla (Payne) Ziska, brother-in-law Tony Ziska, a brother-in-law Henry Ploetz, sister-in-law Ruth (Frederick) Ploetz, a nephew Kevin Ziska, and a niece Cheryl Sigourney.
He is survived by a daughter Julie (Steve) Rodger, Coloma. Two grandchildren Ryan Rodger of Orlando FL and Tara (Bryan) Brom of Dodgeville WI. Three great-grandchildren Kayla, Kendra, and Kinley Brom and various other nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
A funeral service for Elmer will be held on Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Westfield with Rev. Rodney Armon officiating. Burial will be in the Prince of Peace Lutheran Cemetery, Coloma. A visitation will be held from 10:00 until 11:45 a.m. prior to the service on Saturday. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Immanuel Lutheran Church or the Orphan Grain Train in Elmer’s memory. For the safety of everyone, social distancing and masks will be required at church. Steinhaus-Holly Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Westfield is serving the family. For online obituaries and condolences visit www.steinhaushollyfuneralhome.com.
For those not able to attend, a recording of Elmer’s service will be available Saturday evening on the church website at www.ielcw.net.
The family would like to thank Nan Hinze and her staff at Harris Villa for the loving care he was given during the 7 years he was there and Agnesian Hospice Hope for their support.
Please take a moment to view the online Tribute Wall. Send your condolences or share a memory of Elmer with his family & friends.