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Payne dies of apparent heart attack in FD office

Former councilman, CVB leader was taken to hospital

Dan Payne, a former Fort Dodge city councilman who was the executive director emeritus of the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, died Monday afternoon.

Mayor Matt Bemrich confirmed the death during Monday’s City Council meeting.

“Dan will be greatly missed,” Bemrich said. “His smile, his enthusiasm, his dedication to this community will be long remembered.”

A moment of silence in his memory was observed at the beginning of the council meeting.

Payne suffered what appeared to be a heart attack in the Convention and Visitors Bureau office in the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance building at 24 N. Ninth St. He was treated at the scene by firefighters and paramedics from UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center before being transported to the hospital, where he died.

He had been the bureau’s executive director since 1999.

He was on the City Council from 2003 to 2009. He represented Ward 4, which is the north central part of the city.

He had previously served as parks and recreation director and administrative assistant to the mayor.

Payne was a native of Fort Dodge who graduated from Fort Dodge Senior High. He served in a Marine Corps aviation unit in the 1950s.

After being discharged from the military, he earned a bachelor’s degree from George Williams College in Chicago, Illinois, and did graduate studies at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska.

He began his professional career by running YMCA camps in Illinois and Michigan. In 1971, he became parks and recreation director in Fort Dodge. He held that post until 1986. While he was the director, the former Expo and Oleson Park pools were built and the Lakeside and former Sunkissed Meadows golf courses opened.

While leading the parks and recreation department, Payne also served as administrative assistant to two former mayors: Jim Janvrin, who served from 1982 to 1985, and Mike McCarville, who was mayor from 1986 to Oct. 30, 1992.

Payne left the administrative assistant post in 1986 to become the city manager in Spencer. He held that position for 10 years. Before joining the Convention and Visitors Bureau in 1999, he did fundraising for the Clay County Fair and the Maritime Museum in Arnolds Park.

He was elected to the council in a February 2003 special election to replace Jim Gill, who resigned when he was elected to be a Webster County supervisor.