Henry E. Payne III, founder and president of Payne Engineering Co., died at home June 27, 2008, after a long illness. He was 73.

Payne graduated from Yale in 1957 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and then earned a master’s in aeronautical engineering from Princeton in 1960. In 1959, in Princeton, Payne founded his firm, now a high-tech manufacturing company of solid-state power controls, which competes in a national and international market. It operates plants in Payne’s home state of West Virginia and in Florida. It has been working with NASA since moon exploration began.

A respected pioneering entrepreneur, Payne was an outspoken gentleman on issues he felt were important. He was on the boards of Woodberry Forest School and the West Virginia Institute of Technology (which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1986). Payne Engineering received the West Virginia Governor’s Award for Excellence in Exporting in 1984, 1990, and 1997.

Payne was an avid racecar owner/driver, and had a garage and racetrack at all his business locations. 

Payne was survived by Constance, his wife of 47 years (who then tragically died from cancer Sept. 20, 2008); a son, Henry IV ’84; a daughter, Priscilla; and four grandchildren.

Graduate memorials are prepared by the APGA.

Graduate Class of 1960