Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 2, 2007
HATTIESBURG – Services for Ophelia Bell Payton, of Hattiesburg, formerly of Natchez, who died Sunday, Sept. 16, 2007 after a bout with West Nile Virus, at the Wesley Medical Center, in Hattiesburg, were Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007, at the Church of God in Christ, McDowell Nance Convention Center, in Palmers Crossing.
Mrs. Payton was born Aug. 5, 1930, in Natchez, the daughter of Andrew “Pender” Bell and Estella Williams. She was the first of three daughters. Her sisters were Elsie and Marie. When Ophelia was four years, her mother died and she and her sisters went to live with their grandmother, Martha Paxton. They joined their three cousins, Rebecca, Matiel and Ernestine. She attended Clover Hill and Wilderness School in Adams County. At the age of 7, she accepted Christ as her personal savior and was baptized at St. Paul African Methodist Church. In 1952, she married Murphy Payton. The couple had 12 children; Alfredia, Janice, Jackie, Thedore, Murphy Jr., Ray, Matiel, Sidney, Stella and Daniel; along with two stepchildren, Marshall and Eula Mae. She loved the Lord and around 1952 the family united with the Mobile Street Church of God in Christ. There she worshiped and served for many years before joining Word of Faith-Hattiesburg where she is fondly known as Mother Payton.
Mrs. Payton was a long time board member of P-B Health Care Agency, Inc. since the company’s inception in 1989. She is the mother of Jackie Bailey, CEO of P-B Health Home Care Agency, Inc.
She was preceded in death by her parents; grandmother, Martha;sister, Marie Fitzgerald; and cousins, Matiel Carter and Rebecca Williams.