James "Paxton" Dean Dutton
PEORIA - James "Paxton" Dean Dutton, age 81, of Peoria passed away at OSF St. Francis Medical Center on Thursday, July 15, 2021.
He was born on May 25, 1940, in Peoria, IL, to Clarence "Jack" Dean Dutton and Frances Lucille (Hunt) Dutton.
Jim is survived by three daughters, Christine Dutton of Peoria, Marcy Were of Peoria and Jamie (Daniel) Cobb of Washington; four granddaughters, Dr. Amber Were of Peoria, Savannah Mooney of Chicago, Sierra Mooney of Chicago and Harper Cobb of Washington; one grandson, Ronnie Were of Peoria; three sisters, Jacquelyn (Tony) Duez of Groveland, Cindy (Jerry) Farrar of Bartonville and Mary (Don) Strickler of Peoria; one brother, William "Bill" (Barb) Dutton of Washington; 37 nieces and nephews; and many cousins.
Jim attended St. John's grade school and graduated from Manual Training High School in 1959. He later graduated from the Caterpillar machinist training program in 1970.
He retired from Caterpillar Tractor Company in July of 1999 after 40 years of service. He held many positions at CAT over the years, including working in the mail room in 1959, Data Processing Accounting in 1960, TT Engineering Service and Microfilming in 1965, Apprentice Training in 1968, KK Machine Shop in 1970, Scheduling Expediter in 1971, Line Foreman in Building HH from 1973-1979, Foreman at the Tech Center Building K from 1979-1985, Mossville Manufacturing Building DD and BB in 1985, Tech Center Foreman from 1986-1992 and Prove Design Supervisor in Mossville Building VV from 1993-1999. Jim was very appreciative of his fellow workers and their friendship over his working career.
He was drafted into the United States Army on October 31, 1962, and was sent to basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO. In January of 1963, he was sent to Ft. Ord in California and assigned to C deck weapons testing. In April of 1963, Jim was reassigned to the comptroller section at Ft. Leonard Wood, and he was honorably discharged from the Army on October 30, 1964.
Jim was a proud member of the Knights of Columbus (St. Jude #4433 Council), where he helped with BINGO every Tuesday night for several years. He also volunteered at the KC monthly fish fry. He was a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), and was a member of the River Valley Sportsman Club (RVSC) in Germantown. Jim was an average trap shooter, but loved the sport very much. He was also a member of the Greater Peoria Independent Sports Club (ISD) and coached girls' softball from 1982-1984 at the Peoria Christian Center.
Jim loved other sports as well. He was a member of the 1958 Manual undefeated football team that was inducted into the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. Jim also played softball at Procter Center in the 1960s for Chester Howell & Sons Plumbing. He also played basketball for Howell's in the Peoria Recreational League in both AA and AAA, and also on several AAU teams throughout the Midwest. He was an avid Bradley Braves fan, dating back to the 1950s, and enjoyed watching the Chicago Bears, St. Louis Cardinals and University of Illinois football and basketball. Jim was a member of the Catholic Dartball League of Peoria and played for St. John's, then St. Ann's, and finally for the St. Jude team over the span of 30 years.
Jim was an avid motorcycle Flat Track racing fan and faithfully attended the TT race in Peoria in August, the DuQuoin Mile and the Labor Day Springfield Mile. He had several motorcycles throughout the years and enjoyed riding them very much, taking several long trips.
He was a member of the old-timers morning coffee caucus at the Sterling Family Restaurant and in January of 2007, a trio of buddies, Dale Smith, Bob Smith and Jim were joined in their booth by President George W. Bush, who was visiting the East Peoria Caterpillar Plant. Jim and his buddies had a wonderful 10 minute talk with the President and gave several suggestions on how to solve World Affairs. They were also unsuccessful in converting George to a Chicago Bears fan, who were in the playoffs at the time. Mr. President said he had to stay loyal to his Dallas Cowboys.
Jim was a protector of his younger siblings, and had many stories about growing up on the South End of Peoria. He always wanted to help provide for his parents to make sure they had everything they needed and has always wanted to help his family in any way he could.
He was a great father and raised his three daughters as a single Dad during a time when men did not have full custody and later helped raise his granddaughters. Jim enjoyed watching all his girls in all their activities, watching them do crafts, sharing his love of reading, car rides with his favorite tunes, and especially enjoyed taking them to sporting events. If you went to a game with him, you would get as many dippin' dots, mini corn dogs and nachos as you wanted and he sometimes would even give a little Pee Wee Herman dance when "Sweet Caroline" was played.
Jim loved to take his family out to breakfast, bring donuts, and perfected his waffle making skills down to a science and could write a book on the art of the 32-second waffle. His girls fondly remember their yearly trips to Six Flags, where he never failed to lose his Cardinals hat riding the roller coasters. He taught his girls some of the most important life skills, such as the best way to peel an orange, how to create snowballs from the grocery store freezer, the art of horse racing, and two for one margarita's in Mexico may not be such a good idea. He never minded any of the neighborhood kids coming for dinner, could make the biggest pot of spaghetti, and allowed ice cream for breakfast. He participated in Indian Princesses, Girl Scouts, and was the best armchair coach of any sport on TV. He was the best father and put up with all of their shenanigans. Always loyal to his girls, defending them even when maybe he shouldn't have.
As a grandfather, Jim would walk his granddaughters to their bus stop every day; they would walk in his footsteps in the snow to keep their feet dry. He really enjoyed such a close relationship with his grandkids and would say all the time how most grandparents couldn't have "real" talks about what they thought about the world. Jim was always up for taking his grandkids out to eat and they have many memories of Saturday's at Hometown Buffet, Chinese food and Emo's. He'd go to every game or performance and was everyone's biggest supporter, buddy, and the best Papa Jim, aka Papa Donuts, a kid could have. They could never beat him at the slugbug game and he will remain the grand champion.
Some of his famous quotes and advice were: "If someone bails you out, you pay them back;" "if a lefthander is at bat, we gotta watch out for foul balls;" "never loan money to someone if you wouldn't just give it to them;" "home again, home again, jiggity jog;" "oh, for crying in a bucket;" "lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way;" "never brake on the curve of a ramp" and so many more.
He was known as the greatest storyteller because he mastered the art of telling a true, but crazy or outlandish, story, then circling back to the importance of loyalty, honor, commitment, perseverance and always doing the right thing. Jim's stories were the key to understanding what his morals and values were and let a person know how he was one of the most giving, moral and responsible people they would ever know. He was a philosopher with the most giving spirit and did deeds all the time, quietly not needing recognition. Jim was the least selfish person his family has ever known and all of his daughters have experienced complete strangers finding out they were related to Jim Dutton. then telling them something he did for them that they never knew.
Jim's family is very saddened by such a great loss, as we always thought he was invincible. We all lost a great man; he was the chief "philosopher" of our tribe. We will miss our leg lamp gift exchanges and famous cheese platters, but most importantly, his unconditional love and support, stories, wisdom and loyalty. If we could be anything in this world, we want to be more like him. because he made it a better place.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Davison-Fulton Woolsey-Wilton Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, at 11 a.m. at Connect Church in Washington, with visitation one hour before. Pastor Dave Jane will preside. Burial will be at Springdale Cemetery, with full military honors.
Memorials may be made to Dream Center Peoria.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Davison-Fulton Woolsey-Wilton Funeral Home and online condolences may be left at www.woolsey-wilton.com
Published by Peoria Journal Star from Jul. 17 to Jul. 19, 2021.