Michael Scott Payne was born in Long Beach, California on November 24, 1954. He graduated from Millikan High School in 1972 before attending Long Beach City College.
He started his career in law enforcement in Long Beach in 1978. His father, Glyn Payne was still an officer at the time and they served together for a few years. He held many positions including SWAT Team and dignitary protection. He was very humbled to be part of the team that did protection for Ronald Regan during a Presidential visit to Long Beach. He was so proud of the autographed photograph he received from President Regan. In 1992 he had the opportunity to move to Murrieta, California to begin a new police department. He liked to tell the story of sitting in a conference room with a flip chart and a black marker designing emblems, uniforms and badges. He was excited to begin his new chapter in in the Murrieta Police Department. He was hired as a sergeant and worked his way up to Captain. He helped design the current building the police department is now in.
Michael spent a total of 36 years in law enforcement, but that was never his identity. He was a family man. He married Patti Gramespacher in April 1980. The lived in Long Beach until the move to Murrieta. He loved spending time with his children, David and Katherine. He loved new adventures and travel. He instilled that same love in his children. He took them spelunking in Yosemite. He took them sailplaning and camping. He even jumped off the Stratosphere with his daughter in his first hours of retirement.
Michael loved visiting new places and in recent years looked forward to his vacations in Cabo San Lucas. He loved the snorkeling trips and just being on the water. He was a Sea Scout as a youth and always felt at home on the water.
He had a passion for California history and especially steam trains. One of his favorite trips was in Ely, Nevada. He actually rented the steam engine and was engineer for the day. The smile on his face is something that can never be forgotten. He visited many ghost towns and mining towns. And most of the time there was a train nearby. The family joke was that vacation was fine, but there always had to be a train in the itinerary. One quick vacation to Colorado included 6 trains in 4 days!
His love for history and railroads and mining spilled over to his landscaping at home. He collected mining tools, photographs of the old west, books, and other artifacts. He built a mini “cowboy town” complete with a mining display in his yard. He loved showing it off and spent many hours revising and adding to it. He would sit in his chair on the porch of his cowboy shack and watch the sunset every night.
And that is how we will remember him. As a husband, father, friend and hero. Riding the rails around heaven, watching the sunsets and drinking a glass (or two) of champagne.