Obituary for Gary L. Payton


Gary L. Payton, 87, of Great Falls, Montana, was reunited with “his Cille” into God’s Kingdom on November 15, 2022. He was a devoted husband who joined his wife Lucille just 10 days after she left us.

Gary was born on June 8, 1935 to Walter and Florence Payton. He was the 3rd of 7 children and spent his youth in Glover and Oakes, ND until his family moved to Everett, WA in 1948. Gary graduated from Everett High School in 1953 and shortly thereafter moved to Montana. There he stayed with his brother Nolan and worked a variety of jobs including operating grain elevators and during the hay season at Ford Ranch near Belt. During his time in the elevator, Gary was introduced to “the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen.” He married this beautiful girl, Lucille Bonnet, on December 29, 1956.

Gary was drafted into the army in the spring of 1958 and after basic training he and Lucille were stationed in Paris, France. Her return to the US took her briefly to Spokane, WA, where he attended hairdressing school. They returned to Great Falls, which became their permanent home, and were blessed with two beautiful children, Michael and Michelle.

Gary has held several jobs over the years, including working at Blue Print and Letter Co. However, he is best known for opening and running The Kitchen, where he served the town’s citizens home-cooked, take-out meals for 14 years, the 34 years of The Kitchen in business. In 2000, Gary retired and handed over the business to Michael, who continued the tradition until March 2020.

After his retirement, Gary packed his suitcase. Lucille wanted to travel and he was happy to be part of it. Whether they were driving across the States, taking cruises, or heading overseas, they enjoyed seeing each other’s world and each other’s company. Lucille was the love of his life and his greatest joy was being by her side.

Gary loved family. He enjoyed having a house full of people, eating, singing, and playing games. He loved to go fishing with his best friend Carl Box, and after that he usually drove to Wendy’s.

Gary is survived by son Michael, daughter Michelle (Sanna), siblings Verlie (Ray) Lucas and Nickie Evans, and many beloved in-laws, nieces and nephews.

His parents, brothers Nolan and Loel, sisters Lois and Kalyn, and his beloved wife Lucille precede him in death.

Worship services will be held on Saturday, November 19 at 11:00 am at Our Savior Lutheran Church – 1326 1st Ave N, Great Falls Montana, followed by lunch in the church basement. Memorial funds can be sent to Our Savior’s Lutheran.

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