Travis Payne’s family and friends gathered in Jekyll Square in downtown Brunswick Thursday to mourn and remember the impact he had on everyone he met.
Music filled the square adjacent to Tipsy McSway’s – a bar and restaurant at which Payne worked and spent much of his time – as mourners laughed, cried, caught up with old friends and discussed the late musician and bartender.
A 41-year-old Glynn County native, Payne died earlier this month as a result of injuries suffered during an altercation with Edward Aaron Hunter III, 17, of Waynesville, at a private party at I-95 Toyota of Brunswick, according to Glynn County police.
Hunter was arrested a little less than a week later on charges of felony involuntary manslaughter and fighting. He remained in the Glynn County Detention Center on Friday.
Father Tim McKeown, pastor at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, delivered some words of comfort and prayer. He recited the first few verses of Chapter 14 of the Book of Luke from the Bible, a familiar passage that begins “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
In the chapter, Jesus reminds his followers of their eternal life and that believers have a place waiting for them in heaven.
“Easter reminds us that death does not have the final word,” McKeown said. “He has prepared a place for us.”
Susan Bates, owner of Tipsy’s, shared experiences she had with Payne. She hired him and his girlfriend at the same time about a decade ago against the advice of many in the food service business.
“They warned me about couples,” she said.
Despite the warning, she hired them both and said she never regretted it.
Payne’s personality won the popular neighborhood bar many loyal customers, she said. She was worried that when he left many of her frequent patrons might leave as well.
“But (Payne) kept coming back anyway,” Bates said.
She listed several things Payne was known for and asked those in attendance to raise their hands if they had done them with Payne. Cheers went up when she asked anyone who received a drink from Payne to raise their hands. And an equally loud cheer went up when she asked whether he had put the drink on someone else’s bar tab.
Local musician Crawford Perkins also shared his love of Payne and performed a song in his memory. He had known Payne and his siblings since they were young. Some would hang out with him at Clyde’s Discount Music, where he worked at the time.
“The boss used to call Travis and the others my kids,” Perkins said. “And they were my kids. I loved them. ”