Mount Diablo Surveyors Historical Society

In Memorial

James Norman Payne (67)

California Licensed Land Surveyor: L 4388
Born: January 30, 1945 Died:  March 12, 2012


Born in Willows, CA. and grew up in the Community of Codora, CA. he graduated from Princeton High School in 1963 and attended Yuba College and Sacramento State University. He is survived by wife Mary Payne of 47 years, two children, Kim Barillas of Mountain View, CA. and Jamie Payne of Napa, CA. His father Harrison Smitton of Glenn, CA, nine grandchildren, two sisters and one brother. He was a resident of Mountain View, CA. for 23 years.


James was a surveyor for 42 years and was licensed for 36 of those years having obtained his State of California Professional Land Surveyors license in 1976.


Norman worked for the City of Hayward and was recognized by Mayor Sweeney who adjourned the April 17, 2012 city council meeting in memory of the longtime former City employee. Norman Payne joined the Public Works Department in 1992, became the City’s Survey Engineer in 1998, and retired in 2009 due to illness. It was noted he was a tremendous asset to the City, demonstrated an exemplary work ethic, and served as a mentor to his staff and other employees.


He was a founding member of the Mt. Diablo Surveyors Historical Society (MDSHS) at the first meeting held on October 24, 1990 and served as one of its initial 5 Directors upon incorporation on April 2, 1991. Norman also served as the societies first Chairman on October 2, 1992 upon adoption of the articles of incorporation.


Norman (as he preferred to be addressed) was also the society's second life member, unselfishly just missing becoming its first life member. Norman was considering becoming the first life member but had not yet "pulled the trigger" (i.e. writing the "big" check). While running the MDSHS exhibit booth at the March 1997 Western Federation of Professional Surveyors / California Land Surveyors Association / Nevada Association of Land Surveyors joint conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, Norman convinced long time friend and MDSHS member, Paul Ogden (Redding, CA) to become the first life member. Before he knew it Norman had lost the number one spot to Paul. Norman had done his duty to promote the society but then wasted no more time and immediately signed up to the number two spot. Photo


In addition to providing financial support to MDSHS by signing up as a life member, Norman also was supportive in other fund rising events including signing up for raffle tickets purchases in his own unique way. Photo


Norman was very active in MDSHS events and often displayed his own collection of historic surveying equipment. Here Norman helped run an MDSHS information booth at the United States Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.), Menlo Park, CA, 1997 Open House event held September 12 through 14, 1997. Norman is at the very right with his favorite straw hat. Photo


Norman also loved the annual MDSHS picnics and helped out with some of the cooking as at this 1998 picnic. Photo He often brought along the entire family to join in on the fun Photo.


Norman became a corporate member of the California Land Surveyors Association at the state level in 1977 and was also a member of the local Santa Clara/San Mateo Chapter.



There was a Celebration of Life and Passing for James held on Saturday, July 7, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. at 357 Walker Drive, Mountain View, CA 94043. The theme was something "Tigger".  Favorite copies of photographs were to be shared along with many memories and stories. Guests were asked to bring a dish to share.


This memorial was written by Michael Foley from information from various sources and first published on 07/02/2012 on the Mount Diablo Surveyors Historical Society website. Photographs are copyrights of the MDSHS unless otherwise noted, © 2012 - All rights reserved.


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MDSHS is a California non-profit corporation organized under
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Page last updated July 4, 2012.
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