Special Olympics Florida

Remembering Vi Payton

Posted on September 1, 2017 | Posted in Hereos and Champions

Special Olympics Florida has heroes and champions on and off the field.  We have lost one of the most precious assets our organization has ever had — Hall of Fame Member, Vi Payton.

Vi was the glue that held together the staff and more than 40 volunteer county coordinators, 11 district directors, and board members. She helped us traverse through those first challenging years.  Vi was an uplifting source of inspiration and encouragement and always offered words of wisdom with a kind heart and a twinkle in her eye and voice. She was the voice of Special Olympics Florida since the small staff was usually traveling and she was the one onsite. Everyone knew they could count on Vi for answers to their questions.

Our prayers are with her husband and sons during this time. Her kindness will always be remembered in our hearts.

Written by:   Nancy Sawyer, Special Olympics Florida Sr. Vice President (retired)


Venira “Vi” Payton

August 24, 1937- August 23, 2017

God wanted his angel back, and so he called Vi to heaven, just one day shy of her 80th birthday. Vi passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by family, dear friends, and her Pastor.

Preceding her in death are her parents Gurlyn Cheeks, Virginia Cheeks-Horsley, brother Clarence Cheeks, brother-in-law James Payton, and daughter-in-law BJ Brownlee.

Surviving members of her family include her husband of 58 years, Clyde Payton, sons Lee and Bill, daughter-in-law Trish Pena-Payton, granddaughter Isabella Pena, brother and sister-in-law Alex and Ruby Cheeks of McCalla, Alabama, sister-in-law Linda Echols-Payton of Houston, Texas, and sister-in-law Bobbie Cheeks of Bellflower, California.

Vi never met a stranger. She was a ray of sunshine to all the lives she touched. She retired from Special Olympics after 20 yrs. After retirement, Vi volunteered at Special Olympics and at Big Bend Hospice. She was a Worthy Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star, Chapter 119. Her favorite station was Martha. She was strong in her Christian faith, and a long-time member of First Baptist Church of Lloyd.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at First Baptist Church of Lloyd, located at 291 Main Street, Lloyd, FL, September 2, 2017 at 11:00 a.m., EST. In lieu flowers, the family is requesting donations to The National Brain Tumor Society or Big Bend Hospice of Tallahassee.

Obituary published in Tallahassee Democrat on August 30, 2017