Ball field service celebrates 12-year-old's life

SAUCIER, MS (WLOX) - There was a very emotional service Tuesday in Saucier for 12-year-old Isaiah Payne. The 5th grader from West Wortham Elementary School, who they called "Dooney," was killed while riding a scooter near his home Thursday.

Hundreds in the Saucier community came to honor him at a celebration of life ceremony.

Tears were flowing and sobbing was heard out loud as little Isaiah Payne's casket was carried by those who loved him into the end zone at Saucier Ball Field. They called it his last time on his favorite field.

A small girl with a shaking voice and hands held a letter she wrote to her friend, saying, "I just think God needed another angel to wrap his wings around, because he's in a better place. No danger or no pain. Thank you very much."

Breaking down in tears, one of his many coaches who was also a pall bearer said, "We're going to miss you. You were a great kid. You got it right, we all loved him."

There was obvious, overwhelming grief for hundreds who came to the ball field for his service. He played pee wee football there. His coaches and friends talked about the bright, well mannered, playful boy with a golden smile.

His untimely death has hit this small, tight knit community especially hard. His coach and father figure, Melvin Houston, tried to comfort them all by reminding them of his maturity and his surprising strength.

With tear filled eyes and little laugh Melvin Houston, Jr. said, "I'm 250 pounds and he lifted me over his head to take my Butterfinger, I kid you not. And he pulled me up over his head."

But it ended on a much more somber note with a devastated mother thanking so many who loved her boy.

"I thank you all 'cause my son was a very special boy and he truly loved y'all," Patricia Payne said, "and for y'all to show love back to him, I appreciate it and thank you all."

Besides pee-wee football, Isaiah also played baseball and basketball with the Jets. His coaches describe him as the most respectful child you would ever meet, who was a loyal friend, and always eager to help others.

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