Robert Irvin Payne ’80

Robert Irvin Payne, 61, of Greensboro, NC passed away peacefully at home, after a brief illness, on Thursday, April 30, 2020, with his loving wife and daughter by his side.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, he was the son of Ralph and Nell Payne. Robert was married to his love and best friend Sandy Hurt for 25 years.

He was a graduate of Davidson College. While at Davidson, he was active as a DJ at the then student-run WDAV radio, which set the path for a life-long appreciation and art for curating and sharing music with family and friends.

Robert had 35 years as an associate with the Principal Financial Group (Principal), where he worked with a mix of family-owned, private and public businesses with a focus on business succession, estate, retirement, investment and selective executive compensation planning.

He was also a qualifying and life member of the Court of the Table of the Million Dollar Round Table.

Robert was a devoted member of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Greensboro for 35 years and served on the church vestry. For the length of that 35 years, he was an enthusiastic volunteer with the Youth Ministry programs, the Building Commission and the Adult Pilgrimage Ministry, to name a few.

An important part of his youth work was his involvement with Glory Ridge, a nondenominational camp in the mountains of North Carolina where he took groups of teens and adults to do outreach work projects over the course of 33 years. Robert was also an active member of the Glory Ridge Board of Directors.

As a 17-year survivor of leukemia (CLL), he participated in cycling and hiking fundraising events for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Team in Training, an organization near and dear to his heart.

Robert will be remembered by his family and friends for his sense of adventure and wonderful documentation of those adventures through photography and video.

Robert was preceded in death by his mother, Nell Irvin Payne.

Robert is survived by his loving wife, Sandy, devoted daughter Hallie Payne, son-in-law David Goldsmith and granddaughters Nell and Hazel and his father, Ralph M. Payne.

As gathering restrictions are lifted, upcoming celebration of life service plans will be shared by the family.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any of the following: Glory Ridge, P.O. Box 363, Marshall, NC 28753; Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 607 N. Greene St., Greensboro, NC 27401 to either the Episcopal Youth Ministry care of Rev. Nathan Finnin, or the Robert Payne Pilgrimage Scholarship Fund care of Rev. Gregory Farrand; Authoracare Collective (Hospice), 2500 Summit Ave., Greensboro, NC 27405; Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Hanes Lineberry North Elm Chapel is serving the Robert Irvin Payne family. Online condolences may be sent to

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