JAY - Longtime Delaware County commissioner Howard Payton died Sunday after a long illness, county officials confirmed.

Payton was elected in 1987 to serve as District 2 commissioner, said Judy Sturges, commission secretary.

Chairman Dave Kendrick called for a moment of silence Monday during the commission meeting in honor of Payton.

Kendrick and County Clerk Carol Fortner said it was their understanding that Gov. Brad Henry has been notified.

Phil Bacharach, press secretary to the governor, said that, while his office hadn't received formal written notice from the commission, state Sen. Charles Wyrick (D-Fairland) had called with the news of Payton's passing.

Bacharach said that, after formal word was received, the governor would set a special election to fill the vacated post.

He added that generally the governor's staff tried to set an election that coincided with another election to avoid the county having to take on additional costs.

Funeral services are slated for 2 p.m. Wednesday at the First Assembly of God Church in Jay. Visitation will be at the funeral home today from 1 to 8 p.m., with the family gathering from 6 to 8 p.m., a spokesperson for Turner Funeral Chapel said.