Anne Thomas Ayala
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Asheville - Anne Thomas Ayala, wife of Kenneth J. Ayala died Thursday, December 27, 2012 peacefully at home surrounded by family after an 8 year battle against cancer.
A longtime resident of North Carolina , Anne was born in St. Petersburg, FL, daughter of the late Clifford and Eva Thomas. She attended local schools, graduating from St. Petersburg High School in 1958, and continued her education at Agnes Scott College, majoring in French and Spanish, and completed graduate work at Emory University. Enjoying a long career in education, she taught at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL, at Lenoir Rhyne University in Hickory, NC and at Charlotte Latin School in Charlotte, NC.
During her 25 year teaching career, Anne was also very active in community service, serving on the Board of the Florida Symphony and Loch Haven Art Center (now the Orlando Museum of Art) and was responsible for initiating a corporate lease program of contemporary art, which has grown substantially through the years since its beginning into a valuable collection. In Orlando, she was also host of a local PBS interview program, and did translation in Spanish of public school materials. After moving to Hickory, NC, she was active with the Children's Theater, and served her church as Lay Reader and Chalice Bearer. In Asheville she worked actively in her church pantry and served on the Board of MANNA Food Bank.
After retiring from teaching, Anne began a new career in the equestrian world, managing events at the Biltmore Equestrian Center, and initiating international competition on the Estate. She also served as an international endurance judge and steward, and competed actively more than 10 years throughout the US . In 2000 she and her Arabian were awarded the prestigious "Partners' Award" from the American Endurance Ride Conference for competition excellence.
She is survived by her beloved husband of more than 50 years, Kenneth J. Ayala; a son, Steven Thomas Ayala, and grand daughter, Eva Claire Ayala, and many cousins and friends.
A Celebration of Life memorial service will be held 2:00 PM, Thursday, January 10, 2013 at St. Mary's Episcopal Church with the Rev. Brent Norris officiating. A private burial of ashes in the garden of the church will be at a later time. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 30 Macon Ave. #2, Asheville, NC 28801 or a
Morris Funeral Home, 304 Merrimon Avenue is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent through the website www.morrisfamilyfuneralhome.com
Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Jan. 9, 2013