Lois Struthers-Payne, 68, a native of Fort Wayne, Ind., and a 43-year resident of Sarasota County and Venice, died early Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013.
Ms. Struthers graduated from New Haven High School in 1963.
Lois’ interests migrated to veterans after her marriage to her first husband, an Air Force veteran. She became a member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary and served as an officer for more than 20 years, going through the chairs and serving as the auxiliary president several times, and again through the chairs in the state organization and serving as state president. Lois was instrumental in helping establishing the Veterans Park where ceremonies were held until recently.
She was involved with organizing homeless stand-downs and Paws For Patriots, visiting hospital veterans and various others projects throughout the community.
She joined the Marine Corps League Auxiliary after her brother joined the U.S. Marines, serving as charter president of the Gulf Coast Unit. She served that unit with the same dedication she gave to all things veteran. Over the past 20 years, she and her husband, Don, have hosted a Toys For Tots Christmas party with as many as 100 people attending, collecting many boxes of toys over the years.
Other organizations she belonged to include Anerican Legion Post 159 Auxiliary, D.A.V. Chapter 101 Auxiliary, Military Order of the Cootie (VFW) and Military Order Of Devil Dog Fleas (Marine Corps League Auxiliary). She served the Venice-Area Veterans Council as secretary-treasurer. Other little-known things she did were sending cards to the ill and packing personal care boxes for the troops and a VA Center.
Most of all, Lois was a loving, caring wife.
Lois leaves behind her husband, Don Payne of Venice; her sister, Leann Taylor of North Port; brothers, Mike Walter of Payne, Ohio, Ken Walter of Fort Wayne, Ind., and Ed Walter of North Port; and stepsons John Payne of Lees Summit, Mo., and Don Jr. of Independence, Mo. Lois also leaves six grandchildren.
Services: A celebration of life will be scheduled at a later date.
Contributions: In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to D.A.V. Chapter 101 Welfare Fund 600 East Colonia Lane, Nokomis Fla. 34275.