Payton Jones Obituary, Death : LEXINGTON, Ohio- Payton Jones of Mansfield, OH sadly died at age of 18, following a tragic auto accident that happened in Morrow County, on Saturday 28th of August, 2021.
Psalm 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him”…, with peace in her heart and covered in prayer, Payton Reese Jones of Lexington was welcomed into the arms of Jesus on Saturday August 28th as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident. She was 18 years old.
Payton was born June 15th 2003 in Burlington, North Carolina to Matthew Jones and Libby Bradshaw. At the age of 3, she moved to Ohio where she resided until her passing. She was employed at American Eagle Richland Mall and was the TikTok ambassador for the store.
Payton was a 2021 graduate of Lexington High School and had just moved to attend Southeastern University Ohio to major in Ministerial Leadership: Worship. She was excited about the next step on her journey as a part of the SEU Worship team.
Payton always saw herself leading in the arena which is exactly what she is doing in heaven for the One she worshiped. It is an impossibility to fully honor Payton’s life and the impact she had in a few short paragraphs. From a young age she adopted the motto “always be a friend” and lived by that. A lover of art, she would often be found as a child sprawled on her floor painting canvases with scripture or crafting cards or beaded bracelets to give to friends.
She loved calligraphy and creating beauty. She loved music from the time she could walk, with her first love of song being Taylor Swift. She was blessed to meet Taylor Swift in 2007 and always said it was “The Best Day”. In 6th grade, she received her first guitar and the sound of heaven arose from her soul. She began her journey into praise and worship and never looked back.
Payton attended M1 Church (Mansfield First Assembly of God) from the age of 5. She grew up in the ministry by becoming her mother’s shadow as she worked as the Church’s Administrative Assistant. Walking the path Jesus led her on for the next 13 years, she went from Missionettes Girls Club, to M1 Kids, to M1 Youth, where she led worship for her fellow students from the 6th grade on.
As a teen she served as a mentor for Fun Arts Kids, M1 Kids, played worship for GLOW Women’s Ministry, and also the M1 Sanctuary Worship Team. She helped with Fusion Church Youth Worship, was a member of UnifyBand, and spent the last few weeks of her 2021 summer at Ohio Kid Min Camp, counseling elementary girls and leading worship.
She was often described as an old soul, easy for adults to talk to and ready to give a huge smile and wave to anyone in the church hallway that needed one. As her gifting formed, her anointing became stronger and the songs she led truly welcomed the Lord’s presence when she sang. She competed in Ohio Youth Ministries Fine Arts each year from 6th – 12 grade, always receiving an invitation to compete at National Fine Arts which blessed her with travel and memories in Orlando, Anaheim, Louisville, Houston and Columbus. Rather than focus on her scores, Payton’s main concern was always her gift of song bringing her and others closer to God.
Payton loved her school and the friendships she made there. Volunteering with children at Good News Club, leading worship at Lex Devos, singing in Choir, joining the Lex Golf Team her freshman year, and most recently becoming a Lexington Cheerleader her senior year. Forever a lover of photos and memories, she was a member of the Lexington Yearbook staff with her favorite teacher who became her friend and mentor, Sara Thorburn.
Always up for a new challenge, she also competed in Miss Ohio’s Outstanding Teen 2019 as Miss Buckeye Valley’s Outstanding Teen. She did not win the crown, but gained some very special friends that were just as beloved to her as any crown.
Payton would note one of her most life-changing moments at the Missions Trip she took to Kenya with Pastor Cornell Jordan in 2018. She led worship and got to love on hundreds of children and share laughs, song, and dance with them. She came back from that trip with a new perspective of what true happiness was. She was on fire, ready to ignite the world with love.
Payton radiated an undeniable light and the sweetest soul. Her eyes were full of joy and as blue as the sky. Her giggly laugh was innocent and contagious. She lived life with intention. She felt at home at the ocean and would gaze in awe at every fireworks display. She was a thoughtful gift-giver: making sure that the gift she crafted or searched for would make the recipient know how much she cared.
She was her mother’s best friend and truly as perfect a daughter as we could ask for. She was the absolute best sister: patient, fun-loving, and protective. She spent the last few weeks before college taking her brother Crue to do any fun thing he could think of, even subjecting herself to hours of Minecraft in his room, just so he felt loved. Payton loved to travel and adventure to new places. She loved visiting her family in North Carolina and Georgia, and adored her brothers there, as she always remained a Carolina Girl at heart.
Payton is survived by her parents James and Libby Bradshaw, and Matthew (Jessica) Jones: siblings Crue and Katelyn Bradshaw, Brooke (Kevin) Peller, and Hunter Robinson, Bryson and Colton Jones; her “first and only” true love Matthew Sutter; niece Ellie Peller; grandparents Ted Dillon, David Jones, Lauren James; great-grandparents Norman and Brenda Jones, and Arthur Morrison; aunts and uncles G. Anne (Brent) Peters, Mitch (Allie) Dillon, Troy Morgan, Matt (Heidi) Dillon, David (Nancy) Dillon, and Chris (Megan) Jones. Payton loved all of her cousins and was blessed with a blended family of step-grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins from both sides whom she loved dearly and will miss her forever.
She is also survived by her loving dog Nugget, and cats Sunny, Daisy, and Minnie. Staying true to her motto on friendship, she is survived by more friends than these pages can hold including her new SEU friends who shared her passion for Jesus, her lifelong school friends, and each and every one of the M1 youth group.
She was preceded in death by her “Memaw” Pamela Dillon and great grandparents Anna Lee Morrison, Robert and Alverda Amend.
One search of Payton’s name on Facebook or Instagram will show you that Payton impacted more people in her short 18 years than most people do in a full lifetime. On her paperwork for Miss Ohio’s Outstanding Teen she wrote: “Even if people don’t remember my face, my talent, or my accomplishments, I wish that they remember the true and genuine kindness that I show others…to remember I showed compassion, made people feel welcome and appreciated, and that they felt they have a friend in me. Truly at the end of the day how you treat people leaves the biggest impact, and I believe that if I can make someone’s day better by being a friend, it is the best legacy I could leave.”
Those who had the opportunity to encounter Payton Reese Jones know that she accomplished this legacy. Her friends have established the phrase “Love Like Payton” to remember her by and encourage others. She would want us to love like she did. There is no doubt in our minds that as she entered Jesus’ arms she heard “Well done my good and faithful servant…” Matthew 25:23
Visitation will be held, Friday, September 3, 2021 from 1-3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. at M1 Church (1000 McPherson Street, Mansfield, Ohio 44903) where funeral services celebrating the life of Payton Reese Jones will be held Saturday at 11 am.
The Lexington Avenue Snyder Funeral Home is honored to serve Payton’s family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to Ohio Ministry Network (to assist in sending youth to camp) may be made during her visitation or online at: ohioministry.net