Carolyn Joyce Payton was born to the Jewell family in Kansas City, KS in August of 1944 and was the youngest of 3. She is survived by her son William (Bill) Martin and his wife Diane in Morrisville, PA, her daughter Mary Middleton and Son in Law James of Topeka, KS, 2 granddaughters (Jessica and Kimberly along with husband Michael), 2 grandsons Tony and Tyler, and 2 great-grandchildren Cadence and Liam. She was preceded in death by her parents George and Joy Jewell of Raytown, MO, one brother Gayle, one sister-in-law Sandy, and 3 of her 4 husbands, most recently Junior Lee Payton in 2017. Carolyn was cremated and celebration of life services will be held at a later date. Donations can be made to the Helping Hands Humane Society of Topeka, KS.
Below is a more detailed story of her life:
When she was 12, in 1957, the family’s home was struck by the monstrous and deadly Ruskin Heights Tornado. This affected her for the rest of her life. Every time even a light thunderstorm came or a tornado watch was issued, she would nervously look at the clouds and watched the weather on the TV. She was always ready to go at a moment’s notice to the basement of whatever home she was in.
We all thought she was super-paranoid and wondered why she never got over that and would poke fun at the fact. She was able to joke about it as well along with us so we didn’t feel bad about joking with her. You should have seen when she moved out to Kansas and not knowing where any of the counties were! For the first year or two, the somewhat obsession got so bad, we had to buy her 3 county map magnets and put them anywhere she might be during a storm that had a magnetic surface so she knew if the storm was close or not. We blame that on The Wizard of Oz and Kansas’ reputation with tornadoes! When in actuality, there have been fewer scares in Topeka than when we lived on the Missouri side of the state line!
Carolyn graduated from Ruskin Heights High School in 1962 and went on to Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, MO for one year. There she met Larry Martin and they were married in November of 1963. She was a homemaker and held a few other jobs while she and Larry were married. They had one son, William in 1967.
A few years later, Carolyn moved on after she met L.E. Smith and they were married in 1974 in Leeton, MO. While married to L.E., Carolyn showed Tennessee Walking Horses and helped out on his farm. His children Sharon and Bill became her step-children. Carolyn and L.E. had one daughter together, Mary in 1977.
In 1982, Carolyn moved on once more and started working at Montgomery Ward in the Blue Ridge Mall while staying with her Mom and Dad. Eventually, she moved to Independence, MO. A short time later, she met Donald Bales and they were married on New Year’s Eve 1984 in the middle of a huge ice storm. She became the step-mother of his children, Travis and Kyle, but they did not have any other children together. While married to Don, she worked at the Kansas City Star for many years as a customer service representative, secretary, and district distribution representative until her retirement, which was shortly after Don’s death in 1999.
In 2000, Carolyn began working at AMF Bowling Alley in Independence, MO. There she met Lee Payton and they were married in 2002. In 2008, they moved to Topeka, KS to live with her daughter and family as they were getting older and unable to work any longer. Lee passed away in 2017.
Carolyn enjoyed watching sports and it didn’t really matter what kind. She preferred that over any other type of programming with the exception of the weather channel. Even when its wasn’t storming the weather channel was on several times a day. In the last year or so of her life, she didn’t have much interest in TV anymore, but she enjoyed hearing all of the interesting stories she heard when everyone came home from work and school. She got quite a chuckle out of most of them.
She has suffered for many years from heart-attacks, a stroke, and COPD, and in later years, mild memory loss. She did have oxygen therapy and a pacemaker making her as comfortable as possible though so she was as content as she could be, given her circumstances. The last time she went into the hospital was not actually due to those conditions, but because she had caught COVID-19. She was treated in the hospital for a few days and then went to a rehab facility in order to get her strength up to come back home. Unfortunately, a couple of days later, early in the morning, her body had enough and couldn’t overcome the COVID virus and she passed on January 27, 2021. It was very quick and unexpected as the nurses said they had just checked on her minutes earlier and when they came back, she took her last breath.
She will be dearly missed by everyone that knew her. She wasn’t always the best at keeping in contact with everyone, as she was a bit of a loner except with immediate family, but when she did talk to you, there was no way you couldn’t tell that she loved you with everything she had.
Rest in peace Carolyn. We can’t wait until we meet again on the other side.