Thomas E. Payton, Sr.

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Thomas Edward Payton, Sr., age 79, of Elmira, Michigan, passed away peacefully on January 25, 2023.

Tom was born in Flatrock, Michigan on July 20, 1943, to Ross and Melissa Payton.  He married the love of his life Louise Payton and continued on strong when she preceded him in death. Tom’s pride and joy resided in their children–Tommy, Jr., Sandra, Ross, Sr., Kelly, and Clyde. If you knew Tom, you know he was all about his family.

Tom was a hard-working family man. He took over the family well drilling business which was started by his father. Tom took great pride in knowing that the company he worked so hard to build would be in good hands when his son Ross took over the business allowing the family legacy to live on. In addition to operating a business, Tom loved spending time at his cabin (Uncle Tom’s cabin), hunting in the UP, and taking several trips to Canada to hunt Moose. His ability to think creatively, hand-make innovative equipment, and provide service could be compared to no other. Tom also enjoyed building race cars and old cars, especially his ‘57 Chevy which won the People’s Choice Award in St. Ignace. He was also known to take in daily cowboy shows. A large part of Tom’s life was giving to and helping others. Tom never missed the activities his grandchildren were involved in. He continued the love of farming he shared with his late son Tommy by recently starting Tinkers Family Farm with his grandson Payton.

Tom is survived by his children Sandra (Terry) Erber, Ross (Michelle) Payton, Sr., Kelly (Shawn) Bauman, and Clyde (Staci) Payton.  He is also survived by his grandchildren Isaac Thomas, Payton, Ross, Jr., Emma, Timmy Thomas, and Lily Louise. He also enjoyed his great-grandchildren Caden, and Kinslee, and many special nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Dolores Sides. Tom was preceded in death by his wife Louise, his son Thomas, Jr., his parents Ross and Melissa, his brothers Arther, Ken & Karen Payton, Raymond Payton and sisters Doug & Donna Styles, Betty Tappin and his best friend/brother-in-law Bill Sides. We are comforted knowing they have all reunited again.  

The family will be hosting a celebration of life and memorial luncheon for Tom on January 31, 2023, at 1:00 pm at the Hudson Township Hall at 7865 Reynolds Road, Elmira, Michigan, 49730.    

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Tom’s memory to the Waterfront Field of Dreams in the care of Clyde Payton.

Arrangements were entrusted to Nelson Funeral Home and Cremation Service, P.O. Box 1548, Gaylord, MI 49734.

11 comments on “Thomas E. Payton, Sr.”

  1. Ross and family, I’m so truly heartbroken for you all in this hard time. Prayers to you all as you take on this journey for dad’s final resting place.

  2. Ross and family. We are truly grateful to have met Tom. He has always treated us like family. We have had a lot of laughs with him and all of you. He will be remembered always. Hugs and prayers to all of you.
    The Temples

  3. Rest in heaven, Mr. Payton! You have always shown our family love, Support, and you encouraged us to step out of our comfort zones. You are truly one of a kind, I have never met a more giving man. The community will miss your presence! Continue to keep everyone down here safe. Until we meet again, thank you for all the life experiences you gave me as a teenager.

  4. Janice Kuzon ‘Green’

    Sandy, Kelly, Ross, Clyde and family I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad. He was a special man and you were all the lucky ones to be able to call him Dad. I will always treasure my memories of time spent with your family. Your family has the uniqueness of being so close and with Dad, grandpa, great-grandpa in heaven he will still be smiling down and watching the awesome family he created. Your friend always Janice ‘Green’ Kuzon

  5. Aara Sue Willison

    Dear Sandra and Kelly, I am so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. May you find comfort in the memories you have. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this very difficult time.

    Aara Sue

  6. Jeep and Beverly Psytom

    We are so sorry to hear about Tom’s passing. It was just a few days ago that Tom called Jeep and said he was feeling better.. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. We especially think of Tom’s grandchildren during this difficult time and hope they can find comfort in their good memories.

  7. Larry&Mary Ann Handwerk

    We just heard tonight about Tom. We are so very sorry. He was a dear friend. He will be very missed!

  8. Sandy, Terry,Ross,Michelle, Kelly, Shaun Clyde,Staci,
    And ALL of Your Beautiful Children,
    Our Sincere Sympathy to Everyone,
    Your Dad & Grandpa was the Kindness Man,
    Always so nice to all our Family..
    Love to ALL. Bud & Pat.

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