REBECCA KAY PAYNE WALLACE, 66, died peacefully at home, May 8, 2021, with her daughter, who lovingly cared for her in her last months, at her side.
Becki was born November, 1954, in Wichita Falls, Texas, to Robert and Pauline Payne. She was the “little sister” to the Evans cousins of Amarillo and a favorite of her Payne cousins in Wewoka, Oklahoma. Her cousin Judy remembers Becki as a sweet baby girl and they enjoyed rocking, singing and reading together.
Through her father’s side of the family, Becki was a member of the Cherokee Nation. She honored her Cherokee Indian heritage by using her education to serve Native Americans whenever she could. She was particularly proud that her grandfather, John Houston Payne Sr, received payments from the federal government for Cherokee land in the Indian Territory (which later became the state of Oklahoma). Her grandfather and his family including Becki’s dad were lifelong friends of Will Rodgers, another Cherokee native and internationally known comedian. John Houston and Will Rodgers were roommates at Kemper Military Academy. Both landed there because their exploits required more discipline than public school. Becki inherited some of her grandfather’s sense of fun and mischief.
Becki graduated from Radford High School while her father, a career Air Force officer was stationed in Hawaii. She attended University of Hawaii for two years and graduated from Oklahoma University. She earned her Juris Doctorate from Oklahoma University, College of Law. Becki was a lifetime avid “Sooner” fan and followed her favorite college players into the NFL. She used her knowledge to play Fantasy Football with her Michigan cousins.
Becki practiced law in Las Vegas and later continued her commitment to community with her service at the Boulder City Library in Nevada. The library may have served as a substitute for the bookstore she always wanted to own.
Becki lived in Texas, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Nevada, Virginia and Colorado in the U.S. Outside the US, Becki lived in Tripoli, Libya in Africa, where one Christmas she and her sister received a donkey from their parents. Becki was a “daddy’s girl” and enjoyed many special activities with her dad. Becki and her family sacrificed as military families do, through deployments and reintegration. They moved from friends and schools, if allowed, to where her dad was stationed. If not, she missed him and worried about him. Her dad, and thus Becki and her family, served in Vietnam and at the Pentagon, NORAD, CINCPAC and the Strategic Air Command.
Becki was a good friend and kept in touch with friends and family. She was a prime mover in the Payne family reunion of 2019, the first in more than 30 years. She was a devoted “Trekkie” and loved books, horses, sailboats and desserts. She and Annie shared a good eye for art and her home was filled with drawings and paintings, many with Native American influence. Her love for gardening was apparent and she always tried to have lavender and sunflowers close by. Spring was her favorite time of the year. She will be remembered as a tough, strong willed, and loving person. Forever and always the best mamma bear around.”