What is the definition of a "real" Payson resident? You will get a different answer from just about everyone you ask.
- Everyone who lives here.
- Someone who has lived here more than 10, 20, 30 or more years.
- A person who was born here and still makes their home here.
- Anyone who was born here, even if they move away.
Ask Anna Mae Deming, whose family pioneered the Rim Country, and she'd say her son, Jim, who was born and raised in Payson but has spent his adult life elsewhere, is still a hometown boy.
Anna Mae Deming has been providing weather information to the Payson Roundup for longer than anyone working here can remember and she has been active in the community for many years. She was a longtime employee of the old Valley National Bank, going back to a time when it was the only bank in town. She was active in the Payson Womans Club and its many community-building projects, such as the hospital and the library and the upkeep of the Payson Pioneer Cemetery.
Her son, Jim Deming, makes his home in Mesa and works as a commercial insurance producer for The Arizona Group Insurance Brokers in Gilbert.
"I help all types of companies with their business insurance needs," he said in an interview with the East Mesa Independent.
Deming and his wife, Nancy, have been married more than 40 years and have three children and five grandchildren. One son works for Southwest Airlines, another is an accountant for a large corporation in Tempe and their daughter teaches school in Gilbert.
Jim Deming attended Arizona State University when it was still Arizona State College, and met his wife there. He first worked in highway construction as a field office manager.
That job, which he held for about five years, had him and his family traveling all over the West -- moving, on average, every six months.
Deming said that was no way to raise a family, so he looked for different work. He was encouraged to go into sales.
He was reluctant at first, but a friend urged him to stick with it and now he considers most of his clients to be his friends. He also considers the work he does very rewarding.
But, if he could have chosen another career, he said, he would have been a pilot, either with the U.S. Air Force or a corporation.
His free time, consequently, is largely devoted to the next-best thing -- radio-controlled airplanes.
Deming and five others founded the Arizona Model Aviators Club more than 25 years ago. The club now has more than 250 members and is responsible for the radio-controlled flying field in East Mesa.
He also enjoys golf and likes to travel around the state because there are so many beautiful places and different types of climates.
And, with his mother, Anna Mae Deming, still residing in Payson, trips to the Rim Country and home are frequently in his travel plans.