Eleanor Workman “Wookie” Payne passed away peacefully on April 14, 2022 at age 79 after a courageous battle with cancer. Known to all as Wookie, she embraced her nickname and lived a truly global life, traveling the world for work and fun.
Wookie was born to Dr. Gatewood and Mildred Workman on December 25, 1942. She and her brother Bill, who preceded her in death, were raised in Davidson, North Carolina. She lived most of her life in North Carolina and was a proud graduate of Salem College.
After several years in Atlanta, Wookie returned to the town of Davidson with her family and embarked on a remarkable career at Davidson College. She started as a computer programmer and retired as Senior Associate Dean of Admission, responsible for recruiting international students and other underrepresented groups. Wookie had an immeasurable impact on these students, most of whom would not have had the resources or opportunity for a college education.
She was happiest exploring the world, making new friends wherever she went and embracing other cultures in the sixty or more countries that she visited throughout her life. Wookie was always up for an adventure whether it was hang gliding, zip lines or trips to fabulous islands but always returned to her roots. She grew up as part of four family generations who loved Montreat, its heritage and its community. Wookie ultimately retired to Black Mountain and the North Carolina mountains where she truly felt at home.
Wookie raised two children, Gatewood Campbell (Johnny) and Will Payne (Anna) and was “Drammie” to her four grandchildren, Justin and Hunter Campbell, Stella and Declan Payne. Drammie was loved for her mismatched earrings, fairy hair, party hats and even tattoos! She cherished her grandkids and loved watching their sporting events and musicals, but mostly enjoyed having them in her home.
Wookie was blessed with a wicked sense of humor, an infectious spirit and was truly Brave in All Things. GJM!
There will be a brief remembrance at the Montreat Memorial Garden at 2:30pm on April 24th, with a celebration of her life to follow at 3pm in Upper Anderson, 303 Lookout Road in Montreat. As one would expect, wine will be served. Wookie requested “tell everybody not to wear black.”
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her name to the William Gatewood Workman Psychology Award at Davidson College https://community.davidson.edu/gift-form, or the Mountain Retreat Association, https://montreat.org/support/montreat-fund.
Harwood Home for Funerals & Cremation Services is assisting the family. www.harwoodhomeforfunerals.com
Published by Charlotte Observer on April 17, 2022.