James (Jim) Franklin Pelton, Jr. of Lake Orion, Michigan and formerly of Toledo, Ohio, died at Ascension Providence Hospital, Rochester, Michigan of Covid-19 on November 17, 2020.
Jim was born September 1, 1942, in Mansfield, Ohio to James F. Pelton. and Anna Jane (Thompson) Pelton and was raised in Deshler, Ohio. He graduated with the class of 1960 at Deshler High School and attended Bluffton College. He married Betty Van Scoyoc in 1962 and they later divorced. Jim served in the United States Air Force and was stationed at McConnell AFB 1962-1966.
Jim was an avid model airplane enthusiast and, in his youth, started flying model planes which led to a career in aviation. In the late 1960’s, he started on a path to fulfill his dreams of becoming a pilot and took his first flying lesson. He achieved his goal and became a professional pilot, earning multiple flight ratings, multiple aircraft ratings including Flight Instructor Certifications. Over the years, he taught many students and became a safety consultant for the FAA. He was nearly a 50-year member of the EAA Flight Association. The highlight of each year was going to Oshkosh, Wisconsin to attend the world’s biggest airshow, first attending in the early 1970’s and every year thereafter. Jim was an absolute wealth of knowledge on anything relating to aviation. Even as his health and memory faded, his love for aviation never diminished. He was the inspiration for his granddaughter, Jenna, to follow in his footsteps, who became a licensed pilot and currently serves in the Air Force. He was able to accompany her on her first flight lesson and often said, beaming with pride, he finally got his little pilot. Jim was also a life long ham radio operator and a volunteer Skywarn spotter, reporting hazardous weather to the National Weather Service.
In 1983 he met and married the love of his life Judy Updike, a dedicated nurse and educator, in Toledo, Ohio. Judy became his co-pilot and they enjoyed traveling across the US, cruising and made several trips abroad. They especially enjoyed time they spent in Nashville, TN where they participated and enjoyed all the music activities up until her sudden death in 2013.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his beloved wife of 30 years, Judy Updike Pelton who passed away on January 21, 2013, infant brother, Thomas and infant great nephew, Phineas, in-laws, George and Jeanette Updike and former in-laws, Howard and Susan Van Scoyoc. He is survived by his daughters, Sue Jane Kline (Rick Smith) of Flint, Michigan and Anna Marie (John) Flanigan of Lake Orion, Michigan, siblings Hartwell (Janet) Pelton, Waukee, Iowa, J. Burr (Jane Ann) Pelton, Findlay, Ohio, Mary (James) Pierce, Ames, Iowa, Robert (Linda) Pelton, Hicksville, Ohio, grandchildren, John (Jessica) Kline, Matthew Kline, Elizabeth Kline, and Alexandria (Andrew) Muench, Brennan Flanigan, Jenna Flanigan, great grandchildren, Brooklynn Kline and Elijah Kline, many nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews, former wife Betty Van Scoyoc (Larry) Baer and many former students, dear friends and extended family.
Jim was a member of the EAA Flight Association, Masonic Lodge, Deshler, Shriners International, Toledo, Scottish Rite and a life member of the American Legion.
Due to the Covid Pandemic, Jim will be laid to rest at a private, immediate family graveside service at Riverside Cemetery, Troy, Ohio, with full military honors.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Baird Funeral Home. Online condolences may be left to Jim’s family at www.BairdFuneralHome.com.
Memorial contributions may be made to EAA Aviation Foundation, PO Box 3816, Oshkosh, WI, 54903.
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EAA Aviation Foundation
PO Box 3816, Oshkosh WI 54903