Morris Plains school mourns 2nd grade teacher, Denise Payne

The Alfred Vail School in Morris Plains is mourning the loss of 2nd grade teacher Denise Dooling Payne,

who died on Thursday. She was 62.

A viewing is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, from 4-8 pm at the Dangler Funeral Home, 600 Speedwell Ave., Morris Plains. A service will follow from 8 – 9 pm at the funeral home. From the Alfred Vail Home and School Association:

Mrs. Payne’s family is establishing a memorial fund in her name, to benefit needy children in the Morris School District, primarily those at Alfred Vail. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to this fund. Checks should be made out to AVS HSA/Mrs. Payne Memorial Fund and can be sent directly to the school.

Born in Morristown, Denise graduated from Morristown High School, attended the County College of Morris and Newark State (Kean University), and earned a master’s degree in education from Seton Hall University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Before becoming a teacher, Denise worked at the Morris County Public Library and the County College of Morris, where she was Assistant Director of Admissions.  From her obituary:

Later in life Denise found her true passion when she became a 2nd grade teacher at the Alfred Vail School. Denise truly loved every child and believed every student deserved a chance at success. She worked tirelessly to help students reach their full potential through poetry, art and plays. She cared for and inspired countless children who passed through her classroom over the last 13 years where she shared her life and personality.

Denise is survived by a son, Sean, and her husband Harold; brothers John “Jay” and Michael “Mickey” Dooling and  sisters Debra Sherman and Deirdre Dooling.


  1. Jeremy Barkin says:

    Although I never actually had her as a teacher, Mrs. Payne was one of the few teachers that made my time at Alfred Vail that much better. And most of my happiest memories from that time, whether directly or indirectly, are because of her. I remember she always had a big smile on her face and seemed to be one of the few teachers at the school who REALLY enjoyed and loved every second of her job. Mrs. Payne, you are and forever will be missed but will live on in the memories of the students that you made an impact on.

  2. Patti Dunn Scala says:

    I am sending all my love and lots of positive energy so the families healing will be gentle and peaceful!Denise your smile and warmth will be so very missed, but always in our hearts! Sean and Harry, know that she is and will always be loved and in the memories of so, so many students and friends! Be at peace Denise*

  3. melissa boulineau says:

    my stepdaughter had her and she was such a great caring teacher she not only teaching wasa awesome but she would go beyond for her class she helped her in so many ways she will be loved and remembered i remember helping the class with her halloween show she did every year she make those kids so happy and made kearning so much fun but the kids all loved her r.i.p mrs payne u were the best teacher and always encourage my stepdaughter and the other kids to go beyond ur standers u have been a big help and part of ur lifes u will be missed but loves i want to give my condolance to the family she has her angle wings and shes in gods hand watching over all her children in her classes over the years she teach

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