Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

James 'Tiny' 'Jim' Paynter

BESSEMER, Mich. - James M. "Tiny" Paynter, 73, of Bessemer, passed away on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, in Wakefield.

Jim was born in 1949, in Wakefield, a son of Walter and Vivian (Kelto) Paynter.

Jim was raised in Bessemer and graduated from A.D. Johnston High School with the class of 1968. He continued his education at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, where he pursued a degree in education. Jim played football for the Northern Michigan Wildcats while attending classes.

Jim worked at White Pine, as an educational aide at the Ojibway Correctional Facility, for the Michigan Liquor Control Commission in both Ontonagon and Bessemer, and as a storekeeper for the Michigan Department of Corrections in Newberry, ultimately retiring from the Ojibway Correctional Facility.

Jim was known for his smile, booming voice, infectious laugh, work ethic and his fly fishing abilities. He said that he was born for retirement - and he enjoyed every moment with family and friends at the family cottage on Lake Gogebic, or while fishing on a favorite lake or stream. He enjoyed hunting and fishing, often sharing his bounty to supply family dinners.

Jim is survived by two sisters, Luetta (Bob) Flaa, Lake Gogebic, and Ruth (Dave) Ruff, Marquette; a brother, Dave (Kathy) Paynter, Bessemer; and his sister-in-law, Sue Paynter, Rutland, Vermont. Jim is further survived by a special friend, Kathy Salo and her sons, Bessemer; 13 nieces and nephews; many great- and great-great-nieces and nephews; as well as friends too numerous to count.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Ronald Paynter; a nephew, Lee Paynter; and a great-nephew, Kyle Flaa.

Cremation has taken place. A celebration of Jim's life will be held at a later date. Jim will be laid to rest at the Hillcrest Cemetery in Bessemer.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, you consider a donation to HOPE Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 261, Ironwood, MI 49938, or to any charity of your choice.

The family wishes to thank the kind and compassionate staff at the Gogebic Medical Care Facility for their excellent care of Jim during the past two years.

Thank you to Jerald Rocco, Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield, for assisting the family with arrangements. To send online condolences or to share a memory, please go to