Funeral services are set for Thursday at Ephesus Baptist Church. The family will receive friends at Hightower Funeral Home in Douglasville Wednesday from 5 to 9 p.m.
According to the county website, Payne was a lifetime resident of the Winston community, the daughter of Robert “Bobby” D. Payne and Geneva Vansant Payne, granddaughter of Georgie Vansant, and had one sister, Kimberly Payne.
She was a 1985 graduate of Douglas County High School and a member of Ephesus Baptist Church.
Payne was a direct descendent of Young Vansant who first settled his family in Douglas County in the 1800s and played a great role in the establishment and development of the county in which he gave the tract of land where the old Douglas County Courthouse stands today.
Rhonda Payne was hired by Jane C. Williams, clerk of Superior Court, on July 28, 1986. Payne began working in the records room assisting the public while learning all aspects of the clerk’s office. Within a few weeks, Williams transferred Payne to the front office where she continued to assist the public and learn as much as she could about the clerk’s office and county government.
In 1986, the majority of the work in the clerk’s office was still processed by hand and Payne was instrumental in moving the clerk’s office into the computer age
She attended computer classes after work at Carroll Technical College at her own expense. Williams promoted Payne to office manager where she served in that position until Williams’ retirement at the end of 1998.
Payne attended classes in Virginia to learn the computer court case management system used by the clerk's office to manage civil, criminal and traffic filing.
In January 1999, Payne was appointed chief deputy clerk by Clerk of Superior Court Cindy Chaffin, who filled the position following Williams’ retirement.
As chief deputy, Payne worked with e-filing projects, set up the State Court clerk's office, worked with local and state agencies to transfer and receive data which eliminates duplicate entry and organized and oversaw jury management.
Payne was honored as the 2007 Douglas County Administrative Employee of the Year, nominated by her fellow Douglas County co-workers.
She served as chief deputy clerk until the death of Chaffin in December 2007. At that time, Payne was appointed Clerk of Superior Court, and was elected to her first full term in November 2008.