James Payne worked hard to build a nice home for his family. A lifelong contractor, he designed a brick ranch house on Clarks Road all by himself.
"Construction is what he loved," said James' son, Keith Payne.
The house in Rustburg that Payne built with care is the same place his life came to a violent end.
Deputies believe someone stabbed Payne to death Friday. The 89-year-old was home alone, unable to leave on his own. No arrests have been made in connection with the crime.
"This is an extremely difficult time, because of what has happened," Keith said Monday. "We trust the Lord in what he has done."
Keith found his father's lifeless body Friday. Instead of focusing on that discovery, he's remembering his Dad's generous spirit.
"Dad was the type of person who would give you the shirt off his back, and he'd do anything for anybody," Keith said.
Payne was known as a talented builder. He started working at age 16, later moving to New Jersey to learn his trade.
He eventually moved back to Virginia and Campbell County, where he started his own business. Payne Construction Company has been operating for more than 40 years.
"From the beginning, he wanted to go ahead and start a business, with the intention of having family involved in it," said Keith.
Together with his family, Payne designed buildings in three different states, including several churches in Roanoke.
He poured passion into every project.
"He had a heart for it," Payne said. "That's what he tried to pass along to all of us."
Keith tries to remember that heart, when he thinks about his father's killer.
"We've been asking people to not only pray for us, but pray for people who commit these crimes," said Keith. "We can't imagine what type of person would do this, but they need prayer too."
Services for James Payne will be held this weekend. His family will hold a visitation Sunday at 1 p.m. at Heritage Baptist Church in Lynchburg. Payne's funeral will follow at 3 p.m.