And St. Peter declared, “Muriel Payne, come on up.; the gates of heaven are open for you”, making reference to Muriel’s appearance on The Price is Right many years ago. Muriel won the showcase of prizes that day just as he lived his life – full of excitement, laughter, and love.
As a young boy growing up with little means, he could never have imagined the life he would lead. Who would have ever thought the kid from rural Pittsylvania County, Virginia would one day travel the world, taking over 30 cruises and visiting Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Lichtenstein, Mexico (several times), many Caribbean Islands, Venezuela, Canada, and more. He loved to travel.
Muriel was the rare person who enjoyed his job so much that he didn’t retire until he was in his 70s. His line of work allowed him to meet new people every day, which meant making new friends every day. Muriel never met a stranger. His vibrant, outgoing personality drew people to him. Whenever you saw Muriel, he was smiling, laughing, and making jokes. He loved people and he loved to laugh.
While his beloved Orioles and Redskins haven’t fared well in recent seasons, Muriel was beyond thrilled to celebrate UVA’s national basketball championship last season. An avid NASCAR fan, Muriel was at the race when his favorite driver, Dale Earnhardt, was killed. I’m sure they’ve had a chance to talk about it in depth by now. Muriel loved sports and he was always the greatest fan of his children and grandchildren.
More than anything, Muriel loved his family and he had a large, extended family which included his many friends, his pets, and really everyone he ever met. Some of his most cherished moments were times spent at the beach with his wife, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law; you get the picture. From pig pickings to deep sea fishing to rocking on the deck in the late afternoon, the beach provided immense enjoyment for him. Muriel loved, adored, and cherished his family.
It was love at first sight when he met his sweetheart, Alice. Dedicated and devoted to each other, they celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary this year. Together they raised three wonderful children and when each of them married, Muriel and Alice were proud to consider them all equally as their children. He will be missed by his son-in-law Jackie, daughter Monica (Andy), and son Matt (Wendy). His beautiful grandchildren Sarah (Scott), Drew, Avery, and Caroline will remember their fun-loving Papa Muriel. Muriel suffered a great loss in September when his sweet daughter, Michelle, passed away. We know that angel Michelle lovingly welcomed him to heaven.
Muriel and his family thank everyone for their love, support, and prayers. Special thanks goes to Tommy for his extraordinary support, care and willingness to go above and beyond to help the family in every way possible.
Memorials in honor of Muriel can be made to the Hodges-Mattox Scholarship Fund at First National Bank, Altavista, VA (1306 Bedford Avenue, Altavista, VA 24517). Recipients of this annual scholarship are area high school cross country athletes who demonstrate exemplary service to others.
Be an organ donor. Don’t take your organs to heaven. Heaven knows we need them here!
Muriel loved life and lived his life to the fullest. Life was good to him and he was good to us.