Local Obits

Obituary of James Gordon Payne

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James “Jimmy” Gordon Payne, 74 of Freeville passed away February 16th, 2024 at home of natural death.


Born August 10th, 1949 in Cortland, NY he was the son of Gordon & Gladys Payne.

Jimmy grew up in Varna and was an Ithaca High school graduate, class of ’68. He served four years in the US Air Force and was honorably discharged at the rank of Sergeant E-4 in 1972. His almost twenty year career as a machinist began in the late 1970s at Alco/Bombardier then transferring to Therm Inc. in 1988, making parts for diesel engines and aircraft components for Boeing. Retiring at the age of 62 he then held part time jobs at Italian Carry Out & Challenge Industries.

Married to the late Alice Drabicki, Auburn, October 1974, they have two children, Brian Payne (Sarah Payne) of Freeville and Shaun Payne of Auburn. His brother William “Willy” Payne, Las Vegas, sister Cindy Ceracche, Spencer. Survived by grandchildren Katlyn Payne, Vanetten & Evan Payne, Auburn. Also several nieces & nephews he loved very much. His beloved cats deserve recognition as well.

He has had memorable trips to Alaska, Las Vegas and Florida. The greatest trip for Jim “Bubba” was the Twin Tiers Honor Flight-mission #6 with his sister Cindy. He described it as “A Trip of a Lifetime.”

Jimmy loved the outdoors, spending a lot of time fishing, hunting, astronomy, camping, gardening, motorcycle rides, and cooking dinner over an open fire on warm summer nights under the stars.

He was very well known for his great passion of music. Singer, song writer, guitarist, he played the guitar, drums, keyboard, box drum & ukelele. Jim recorded music and could be found at various venues around Tompkins and Cortland county playing Open Mic nights with Bennie T’s Posse. He also made many instruments including cigar box guitars.

Family and friends are invited for a celebration of life on what would have been Jimmy’s 75th birthday, Sat. 8/10/24. Details to be determined and announced at a later time. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Veterans of Foreign Wars.

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