Melvin M. Payne

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Melvin M. Payne, (died in 1990) 79, "chairman emeritus of the National Geographic Society's board of trustees. Payne began working with the organization in 1932 as a secretary and later served as president and as chairman of the board. Under his leadership, the society backed Capt. Jacques Yves Cousteau's underwater explorations, the first American ascent of Mt. Everest and Jane Goodall's studies of wild chimpanzees. On Saturday in Washington of pneumonia." [1]

" From 1975 until last year [1989] Mr. Payne was chairman of the society's committee for research and exploration, which allots $5 million a year to scientists. He was a major supporter of Capt. Jacques-Yves Cousteau's underwater explorations, of the first American ascent of Mount Everest, of Dr. Louis Leakey's search for early man in East Africa and of Jane Goodall's study of wild chimpanzees.

"Mr. Payne, a native of Washington, became vice president of the society in 1958, executive vice president and secretary in 1962, president in 1967 and board chairman in 1976.

"In recognition of a half-century of service to the society, he was awarded its Grosvenor Medal in 1982. Eight years earlier he had received the Conservation Service Award, the highest honor of the Interior Department, where for several years he was chairman of the Advisory Board on National Parks, Historic Sites, Buildings and Monuments.

"Mr. Payne is survived by his wife, the former Ethel McDonnell; two daughters, Fran, of Olney, Md., and Nancy, of Boca Raton, Fla; a brother, Stanley, of Rockville, Md.; a sister, Lois Grimm of McLean, Va., three grandchildren and a great-granddaughter." [2]

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