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S. James "Big Jim" Payson

S. James "Big Jim" Payson
  • November 8, 1928 - October 19, 2017
  • Battle Creek, Michigan

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“Keeping all of the Payson family in my prayers. ”
1 of 12 | Posted by: Jeanie Strole Parrish - Chester, VA

“I will always remember Mr. Payson with gratitude, for what he taught his students, and also for how he taught! I've always remembered him as one of...Read More »
2 of 12 | Posted by: Joe Messenger - Gaylord, MI

“Tom, Scott, Barb, and CharlieWe have no words to express our deepest sympathy for your Dad's sudden passing and the passing of your Mom just not that...Read More »
3 of 12 | Posted by: Karen and Brian Payson - NM

“Jim Payson was a teacher for me at Richland High School. He and his wife have attended our reunions for a number of years. I was in the class of...Read More »
4 of 12 | Posted by: Lois Richmond - Kalamazoo

“I'm so sorry for your family's loss. Mr. Payson was a great teacher! He made history fun and was one one of my favorite people. ”
5 of 12 | Posted by: Tammy Greyer - Newnan, GA

“My favorite teacher at BCCHS. Mr. Payson gave me a real appreciation of the complicated history of my country. His sense of humor and his sense of...Read More »
6 of 12 | Posted by: James Conley - Waterford, CT

“We were both in Mr. Payson's US History class our junior year at Battle Creek Central. Greg loved History, Sue did not - but Mr. Payson made the...Read More »
7 of 12 | Posted by: Greg and Sue (Taylot) Wolfe - MI

“Mr Payson was my my neighbor could not have asked for a better neighbor was always caring and willing to help out when needed he will be truly missed...Read More »
8 of 12 | Posted by: Mr & Mrs Rodney Parson - MI

“Mr. Payson was a great history teacher, even if I didn't like history. He was also my drivers ed teacher. He was a great guy. ”
9 of 12 | Posted by: Betty Bishop (Jones) - MI

“What memories of this sweet gentleman. Drivers Ed teacher who in later years, always said I was the reason for his white hair! I bet he told many of...Read More »
10 of 12 | Posted by: Jan Lancaster (Hubbert) - IN

“Mr. Payson spent nervous moments with me, as my driver's ed teacher.I also checked him out when I later worked at Willard Library.I am sure that the...Read More »
11 of 12 | Posted by: Karen (Wolf) Weir - Battle Creek, MI

“Mr. Payson was a wonderful teacher. He really cared about his students. ”
12 of 12 | Posted by: carol champagne - Ypsilanti, MI

Baseball Emblem

Seth James "Big Jim" Payson, 89 of Battle Creek, died unexpectedly at home on Thursday, October 19, 2017.

Seth James Payson was born November 8, 1928 in Downers Grove, Illinois to Gilbert Trowbridge and Isabel (Melcher) Payson He grew up in South Haven, Michigan and was a 1946 graduate of South Haven High School. Jim earned his Bachelor's Degree in History with a Teaching Certificate from Western Michigan University in 1950. Later he went back to W.M.U. and received his Master's Degree in Education. Jim taught history for 4 years at Richland before moving to Battle Creek Central High School, from which he retired 1988 after 34 years.

Jim was united in marriage to Patricia Joan Chamberlain on June 14, 1952 at Faith United Methodist Church in Delton. Sadly, Jim was preceded in death by Pat, his wife of 65 years. Surviving are four children, Thomas (Deb) Payson of Galesburg, James Scott (Viera) Payson of Belleville, Barbara (David Milewski) Payson of Rockford, Charlie (Karen) Payson of Battle Creek, seven grandchildren, Seth Larson, Ian Payson, Alex Milewski, John Milewski, Eric Payson, Bonnie Payson and Carrie Payson and his brother, Allan (Pat) Payson of Sylvan Lake. In addition to his wife, Pat, Jim was also preceded in death by his parents.

Jim was a member of First Congregational Church of Battle Creek. He was also a member of the Michigan Retired Teachers Association and the Michigan Sports Sages. Everywhere Jim went he ran into former students, parents and teachers and he took the time to talk, listen and remember the past. He loved history, being outdoors, hiking, camping, campfires, traveling, cribbage, baseball and spending time with his family and friends. He was gruff on the outside, but a softy inside. He announced over 150 straight football games for the Battle Creek Central Bearcats. In the early years he coached the Bearcat Cheerleaders. Big Jim was full of energy, was loud, competitive and had a great sense of humor. Jim was honest, dependable, had impeccable integrity and what you saw was what you got. You might have heard Jim say: "When do we eat?" "There's the door." "Its only pain, it will go away." Jim will be remembered as a man who welcomed everyone and accepted people for who they were. He was a friend for life and a parent who helped his children and grandchildren celebrate their own unique gifts and personalities.

A memorial service to celebrate Jim's life will be officiated by Rev. Thomas J. Ott in the Main Sanctuary of the First Congregational Church 12:00 p.m. Saturday, November 4, 2017. A family committal and inurnment service will be held at the Memorial Garden at First Presbyterian Church in Richland.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Battle Creek Community Foundation General Scholarship Fund in honor of Seth James Payson. Arrangements are by Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care. Personal messages for the family may be placed here at