Late Oklahoma Oilman William T. Payne’s Legacy Lives On

The Ellis Family
Nancy Payne Ellis and daughter Kathy Brown visit the Payne Family Healthy Staircase in the Coletta Building at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City that was funded through the William T. Payne Fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. Photo by Brandon Snider

William T. Payne is known for his success in the Oklahoma oil and gas industry, but it is his philanthropic legacy that has made the greatest impact on his family. Through his will, he gifted his company Payne Petroleum to establish the William T. Payne endowment fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation in 1981.

“My children always knew this was a special gift their grandfather left us,” said daughter-in-law Nancy Payne Ellis. “I was able to involve my children in charitable giving at a young age, and we share that as a family.”

Nancy and her four children, Kathy Brown, Nan Payne, Bond Payne and Angela Ferguson, have carried on Mr. Payne’s legacy by supporting organizations he cared about through the William T. Payne Fund. The fund has awarded more than $4.4 million to a number of charitable organizations including Westminster Presbyterian Church, Boy Scouts of America, Oklahoma Christian University and Mercy Health Foundation.

The family’s connection to Mercy dates back to the 1960s, when Mr. Payne became the first layperson to serve on the hospital board. At the time, the hospital was located in downtown Oklahoma City, later moving to its current location in northwest Oklahoma City under the direction of Sister Mary Coletta Massoth.

“Mr. Payne was a friend of Sister Coletta’s, and he encouraged her to follow her vision of relocating the hospital,” said Kay Oliver, executive director of Mercy Health Foundation Oklahoma City.

When the hospital announced plans to build a cancer center in honor of Sister Coletta, the Payne family knew their patriarch would have wanted to support the project. A gift from the William T. Payne Fund helped fulfill Sister Coletta’s final wish of opening a comprehensive cancer center. The Coletta Building opened in June 2016 and is home to all of the hospital’s cancer and breast services.

“Our delivery of oncology services was fragmented, and patients would have to walk all over campus to receive care,” Kay Oliver said. “The cancer center brings all of these services together under one roof.”

Thanks to the charitable legacy of her friend William T. Payne, Sister Coletta’s ministry will continue to provide compassionate care to our community for years to come.

Contact us today to learn how you can create your own charitable legacy at 405/-235-5603.