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Former Dawson County Chief Magistrate dies
Payne served county for more than 40 years
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Funeral services for the man that served Dawson County for over 40 years as justice of the peace and chief magistrate judge will be Friday at Bearden’s Funeral Home.


Paul Payne, 76, of Dawsonville, died at his home Tuesday, Aug. 26, following a period of declining health.


A native of Dawson County, Payne served as justice of the peace from 1965-1982 when the grand jury appointed him to the chief magistrate judgeship.

As the community gathered in December 2004 to pay tribute to his years of service, Payne said he enjoyed his years of servitude to his hometown. “I thought maybe I could make a difference,” he said. “I did my best. I have enjoyed it.” 

For many years, Payne ran the magistrate’s office from his downtown Dawsonville property, where he also owned and operated a service station. 

“He was the true vision, the true definition of a public servant,” said Johnny Holtzclaw, who has served as Dawson County Chief Magistrate since Payne retired in 2004.


He is survived by his wife Margaret Payne of Dawsonville, stepdaughters Sandra Gilleland and Karen Chester and sister, Betty Thompson of Gainesville. Several stepgrandchildren, stepgreat-granddaughter, nieces, nephews and other relatives also survive. 


The family will receive friends at the funeral home tonight from 7-9 p.m. and Thursday from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.


Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29 at Bearden Funeral Home Chapel in Dawsonville, with the Revs. Glenn Byrd, Cory Gilleland and Roger Holley officiating.


Interment will follow at the Mill Creek Baptist Church Cemetery.