Payton Memorial Guestbook Entry

Mr. Payton was a giant in the field of philanthropy and social justice, and a remarkable individual who lived a kind of wholeness of life that would inspire poets. His life story is inspiring – from his paratrooping and jazz club playing days to his ambassadorial post in Cameroon, and building and dedicating an incredible philanthropic library to his two sons. I remember him as a man who wrote in a journal to his grandson everyday, and who once ran a marathon on a ¼ mile track. He has deeply touched and started the careers of many students who remain in the field of philanthropy and social justice. I think of Mr. Payton as a true renaissance man, someone who provided a holistic and diverse set of perspectives on tough issues. My first introduction to Mr. Payton was in an interview; he dived right to the heart of the matter – where my intellect and heart connected.  He coupled his keen perception and ability to connect with people with a gentleness that disarms and opens your mind to different possibilities. Over 10 years have passed since I was a JAF and I still look back at those weekly seminars in the Payton basement with intense appreciation; it was a rare time where I was encouraged to take a step back, read poetry, religious texts, political theory, philosophy, activist speeches, and news and reflect about the ways in which we could capitalize on the public will for the public good of all.  The world has lost a true sage but his spirit continues through the lives of so many that he has touched. It is an honor to have had Mr. Payton as a mentor and friend.