By Rebecca Goodman
Enquirer staff writer
COLLEGE HILL - John H. Payne, a physician and surgeon for nearly a half-century, died Saturday of heart disease at his home. He was 89.
Dr. Payne's specialties were thoracic, cardiac and general surgery. He was chief of surgery at Deaconess, Good Samaritan, St. Francis, Mercy and the old St. Mary hospitals.
Born in Price Hill on Nov. 1, 1914, Dr. Payne was the son of a physician. His mother was a writer and through his childhood the family entertained friends in their home to play music, sing or recite poetry.
But Dr. Payne's first love was medicine.
He graduated in 1936 with a degree in biology from the Cincinnati College of Arts and Sciences. He received a medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1941. He was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society.
During his second year of med school, Dr. Payne and five other students contracted tuberculosis from a contaminated laboratory. Two of the students died and Dr. Payne was bedridden for a year. Still, he graduated second in his class with a delay of only one year.
"This perseverance, dedication, and refusal to give up, which characterized his battle with tuberculosis, also informed his life, personally and professionally," said his daughter, Margaret Anne Payne of La Jolla, Calif.
Dr. Payne tried to join the Navy officer corps during World War II, but he was deemed unfit to serve because of his bout with tuberculosis. So he applied to the Mayo Clinic and earned a master's degree in surgery from the University of Minnesota in 1945.
He received board certification in general surgery, thoracic surgery and cardiac surgery between 1947 and 1952.
Dr. Payne was "known as a surgeon's surgeon and was recognized and respected in particular for the performance of lengthy, difficult chest and lung surgeries," his daughter said. "He was formidable in the operating room and acknowledged for his command of the most difficult medical situations." He "prepared himself carefully for his difficult cases and providing thorough follow-up." Long after he retired in the 1990s, Dr. Payne continued to counsel friends and former patients.
Dr. Payne loved antique cars and at one time owned a 1915 Willys Overland Roadster, which he drove in parades and displayed at car shows.
In addition to his daughter, survivors include his wife, , Margaret Mary Naughton Payne; son, John Payne, of Cincinnati, and three grandchildren.
Visitation is 9-10 a.m. today at Busse & Borgmann Funeral Home, 3464 Central Parkway, Clifton. Mass of Christian Burial is 10:30 a.m. today at Annunciation Church, 3547 Clifton Ave. Burial is at Spring Grove Cemetery.
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