ELBERTA, Ala. (WKRG) – Family and friends are remembering David Payne this week in Baldwin County.

“There just aren’t any words. His impact was so profound and so far-reaching there’s no way to say. It’ll be felt forever,” said Payne’s daughter, Jenni Snell.

His leadership helped Camp Baldwin’s ministry in Elberta grow during his 26 years overseeing the retreat tucked away near Wolf Bay.

“You could just see him light up. This was his place. This was his vision of where he knew God wanted him to be,” she explained.

Payne, the longtime camp director from 1992-2018, passed away suddenly last Friday from complications following open-heart surgery, according to his family. Even though he was no longer running the camp, he was a constant visitor to the property up until early last week, stopping by whenever he could lend a hand.

“He was still here helping us and doing whatever he could. He had a love for this ministry and believed in what this ministry did for all ages, not just kids and youth, but all ages,” said Camp Baldwin Director Gil Johnson, Jr.

“In its’ early days Camp Baldwin was a summer destination with just 4 buildings on 17 acres, but with Payne’s vision it quickly became a year-round ministry with new classrooms, accommodations and activities spanning 60 acres, attracting even more visitors than ever before.

“It’s surprising how many people see a sunset for the first time here or experience that because they’re so busy at home,” explained Johnson.

Funeral services for David Payne will be held Saturday at Oyster Bay Baptist Church in Gulf Shores. His family is asking everyone to continue supporting the camp that’s meant so much to them for 30 years.

Funeral arrangements for David Payne.

“We are just asking people if they would like to be a part of my dad’s legacy just donate to the camp if they can. If not, just tell people about it and get people here,” his daughter added.