NEWARK – The people of New Jersey came to the Metropolitan Baptist Church in the South Ward today to pay their respects to the late beloved U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-10).
The Congressman died last week after battling colon cancer. Yesterday he lay in state at the Essex County Hall of Records, and today, a processional delivered his body to the church.
Over a long and distinguished public career, the congressman built an iconic presence in his home town, and his constituents this afternoon paid tribute to him as long lines formed outside the church.
As mourners departed, more arrived, and the main line to get into the church wrapped around the back of the building.
“I lost a part of myself,” said the congressman’s brother and ally, Bill Payne, Essex County deputy chief of staff to the county executive.
He sat with his nephew, Council President Donald Payne, Jr., and other members of the South Ward-based Newark dynasty that began with the political partnership of William and Donald Payne.
The two surviving public faces of the Payne family, Donald Jr. and William, comforted and were by comforted by hundreds.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker paid his respects to the late Congressman, along with numerous city dignitaries and other elected officials, including North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos, At-Large Councilman Carlos Gonzalez and many others.
The funeral for Congressman Payne is tomorrow.