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(Tribune News Service) — For years, as commander of the American Legion Post 218 Combined Honor Guard, Johnny Paynter was entrusted with providing veterans a proper military funeral service.

Now he will receive the same treatment.

Paynter, a U.S. Army veteran who served as commander of Post 218 in Middletown for one year, died Sunday at Hospice of Butler and Warren Counties. He was 77.

After Paynter stepped down as commander of the honor guard for health reasons, Paul Hannah resumed the role. Without Paynter’s leadership, Hannah said the honor guard may have disbanded.

“He saved it,” said Hannah, 73.

Hannah said two members of the American Legion Honor Guard will watch over Paynter’s casket during the service. An American flag will be folded and presented to a family member, followed by playing of Taps and a 21-gun salute, Hannah said.

“We want to give the family closure and him a final salute,” Hannah said.

Paynter, a member of the American Legion for 22 years, worked as Civil Rights Chairman/EAP at Armco/ AK Steel before retiring.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Betty Paynter; children Matthew (Paula) Paynter, Michael Paynter, and Deanna Paynter; sister Patty (Frank) Durden; sister- in-law Jeannie Paynter, Judy Paynter, and Janet Paynter; and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Malcom (Janet) Paynter, Clarence Paynter, Chester Paynter, Marion Paynter, Stanley Paynter, and Ronnie (Darlene) Paynter; sisters Joann (John) McGee, Barbara (Arnold) Dennis, and Mary Lou (Ralph) Carroll.

Visitation will be from 2-4 p.m. Saturday at Baker-Stevens-Parramore Funeral Home, 6850 Roosevelt Ave., Middletown. Funeral service will be held directly after. Donations can be made to Middletown Combined Honor Guard in Paynter’s memory.

(c)2021 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio)

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Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

(Christopher Muncy/U.S. Air Force)

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