We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague, Eugene Charles Payne, III. Gene was devoted to family and greatly contributed to the well-being of his expansive community. He practiced law in San Francisco for more than 45 years, starting as in-house counsel at Bank of America, then finding his home at Tobin & Tobin, which became Weintraub Tobin in 2012. He specialized in banking and corporate law, and was well known as the primary outside counsel for The Hibernia Bank, shepherding the Bank through its expansion and two ownership changes, and was beloved by his faith-based, non-profit institutional clients.
Gene was a native San Franciscan and from a family that resided in California for generations. He attended St. Paul and St. Cecilia grammar schools and St. Ignatius High School, where he was an accomplished member of the debate team and graduated with honors. He then went on to Georgetown University where he was editor-in-chief of Georgetown’s undergraduate weekly newspaper, The Hoya. After graduation from Georgetown, Gene earned his law degree from Harvard Law School.
Gene was active in many charitable organizations. He served on the executive committee of the board of directors of Hanna Boys Center, and board of directors/regents for the following: the Archbishop Alemany Scholarship Fund, St. Ignatius College Preparatory, the Pomeroy Recreation and Rehabilitation Center, the St. Mary’s Medical Center Foundation, and the Waterbridge Outreach: Books + Water. He served as a director of the Foundation for San Francisco’s Architectural Heritage and as a director and treasurer of the San Francisco Public Library. Gene received the St. Thomas More Award in 1995 and the Janet Pomeroy Banner of Love Award in 2007. He was a member of the Order of Malta for 28 years, and served as Hospitaller of the Western Association from 2003 to 2008. Gene was also an active member of his beloved Summerhome Park, where he spent almost every summer of his life.
Gene was a devoted husband to Lin and loving father to their four children: Mary Beth Cecchini, Gene, Michael, and Catherine. He was affectionately known as “Pa” to his eight grandchildren: Drew and Cate Cecchini; Chloe and Charlie Payne; and Gus, Celsa, Hazel, and Milo Payne.
He will be greatly missed.
J.D., Harvard Law School, 1973
A.B., Georgetown University, 1969