Betty Jean Payne

Name: Betty Jean Payne (Betty Jean Harris)
Birth Date: April 29 1938
Death Date: 2017
Burial Place: Sunset Memorial Lawns, Northbrook IL


Betty Jean Payne (1938-2017) resided in Evanston for over 40 years. During this time she dedicated herself to creating community programs and leading a variety of causes in order to improve the safety and economic wellbeing of her community. Payne, who attended Evanston Township High School, Evanston Business College, and the United States League of Financial Education, worked for many years at the Horizon Federal Savings Bank and Loan where she oversaw approving housing loans and investments. Additionally, she was an Affiliate member of the Northshore Board of Realtors, as well as a Board Member of the Evanston YWCA. She also served two consecutive terms as the Evanston Township High School Treasurer.  Moreover, Payne established many of her own initiatives, such as the Canal Park Neighbors Association, Noise Neighbors, and more. In 1988, Payne decided to run for the 4th Ward alderman seat with support from the community. Ultimately, Payne lost the election, but her determination to reform and make positive impacts in her community continued. In 2020, a proposal was ratified which renamed Harbert park to Harbert-Payne park, memorializing the work Payne accomplished in her canal neighborhood of over 40 years. 

Education: Evanston Township High School, Evanston Business College, United States League of Financial Education
Years in Evanston: 70

Sources: Evanston History Center Bio Files, Evanston Library Archives

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