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Mother of Tampa Socialite Laid to Rest

Updated: Jun 6

The mother of Tampa Bay Tammy, Verniece Payne was laid to rest on June 3rd at Brown Missionary Baptist Church in Southaven MS where the honorable Pastor Bartholomew Orr presides. Verniece had been ill for the past few years and battled Parkinson's disease until she passed quietly in her sleep on May 27th 2024.

Verniece Hawkins Payne was born on August 8th 1942 in Hernando MS. She married at an early age to Minor Payne of Olive Branch MS. To this union were born 3 beautiful daughters. The family relocated to Memphis, Tennessee in 1963 to pursue broader opportunities for their family. At age 22, she stepped out as an entrepreneur opening Verniece’s Beauty Salon on Kerr Avenue where she touched the lives of many women.

As a cosmetologist, Verniece taught classes at Booker T. Washington night school, Whitehaven High School, and Fairley High School and instilling confidence and joy in her students for many years. She was known to use her classroom as a platform to teach social graces that would complement her students’ newfound trade, giving women of color key life skills to succeed during segregation and integration.   She was a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, loving friend, entrepreneur, retired teacher, caregiver, Cadillac-enthusiast, and a world traveler. She visited places like Hawaii, Thailand, Figi, Czechoslovakia, Dubai, Viet Nam and of course many countries on Africa. Verniece instilled a love for travel into her daughters and grandchildren by organizing family trips to places like the Grand Canyon, The Petrified Forest, Niagara Falls, Disneyland, Disney World and theme parks across the country.

Verniece was very involved in her community. As a young woman, she was the co-counselor of the Together Club sponsored by the National Conference of Christian & Jews at Fairley High School. She was a longtime member of the NAACP and often served at the voting polls. In her later years, she served on the Senior Ministry at Brown Missionary Baptist Church. She was a caregiver for her younger brother, her mother, her sister, and her husband for more than a decade.

Verniece was a loving and caring mom and grandmother whose generosity extended far beyond buying annual Easter baskets, summer outfits, and wonderful Christmas gifts. She poured her love into her family, especially her six grandchildren: Kassidy Johnson Jacobs (Rochester), Dr. Tamina Johnson Jeffers (Daniel), Braxton Johnson (deceased), Kindall Johnson Hayes (Calvin), Jaxton Bell, and Jasia Bell through baseball lessons, summer camps, dance classes, music lessons and by even purchasing cars.

Verniece leaves three college educated daughters; Mina Payne of Memphis, Leniece Payne Woods of Memphis, Tammy Payne Johnson (Tampa Bay Tammy) of Tampa, FL, her grandchildren (listed above) and four great-grandchildren; Talayja, JaBria, Jayden, and Jordan. She also leaves a host of nieces, nephews cousins and friends.

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