Maurice Lee Ayers, USN Ret., received his final transfer orders to his heavenly home on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, at the age of 90.
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A long-time Conway resident, Mr. Ayers was born Dec. 2, 1922, to the late Ira Charles and Veda Faye Clary Ayers.
He was a graduate of Yuma Union High School, Yuma, Ariz. He was a proud Navy veteran having served his country for twenty-three years; during those years he traveled the world for Uncle Sam: Alaska, California, Washington, Panama, Maryland, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida where he was Leading Chief of Heavy Attack Squadron Five; on Mediterranean cruise duty on the USS Forrestal he visited France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, and Greece. Upon retirement from the Navy, he completed an undergraduate degree in physics at Arkansas State Teachers College (University of Central Arkansas) in Conway and a Masters Degree from the University of Arkansas' Graduate Institute of Technology in Little Rock. He returned to ASTC as a professor of physics for 20 years teaching physical science, physics, electronics, and astronomy, and an occasional class at Hendrix College.
A man of great faith, Mr. Ayers was a deacon and Sunday school teacher at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church where he also sang in the choir. He was the "chief" gravy-maker for the Wednesday morning's Men's Prayer Breakfast at First United Methodist Church and a member of the Wooster Masonic Lodge, holding a variety of offices.
He was married to Martha Ann Havens for sixty-two years.
In addition to his wife, he is also survived by his daughter, Mala and her husband Gary Rogers of North Little Rock; as well as a grandson and his wife, Drew and Rachel Rogers of Sherwood; and a great-grandson, Rhett Samuel Rogers. He is additionally survived by two brothers, Gene Ayers of Billings, Mont., and Bill Ayers of Pollock Pines, Calif.; and a sister, Mary Jo McIntyre and her husband Dan of Yuba City, Calif.; he was preceded in death by a sister, Helen Gammill. He leaves behind numerous nieces and nephews, as well as a brother-in-law, Joe B. Havens; and a sister-in-law, Celestine Havens.
"Chief" derived no greater pleasure than watching grandson Drew play baseball and drove countless miles with his wife to take in ballgames where "Hoss" was on the field. A man of many talents and interests, after retirement from teaching, he began piano lessons. An avid proponent of good health, for years Chief swam two miles a day at Lake Beaverfork near their home. He believed in the value of hard work and enjoyed working in the garden at "the Havens homeplace," tinkering with his Cub tractor, building rock walls and steps or re-roofing the house when necessary. Several family traditions were started by Chief, the most memorable being HIS annual fall party, where games and good times were directed by Chief in costume. In December he was feted at a 90th Birthday Bash attended by 200 well-wishers.
Visitation will be held on Thursday evening, Jan. 31, from 6 to 8 at Roller-McNutt in Conway.
A celebration of his life will occur at 11 Friday morning, Feb. 1, at the Pleasant Valley Baptist Church on Highway 25 north of Conway; burial services will immediately follow. Memorials may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, or Gideons International.
The family wishes to thank the consummate care given to Mr. Ayers by the staff of Dr. David Mego and the Arkansas Heart Hospital Clinic, as well as the outstanding staff at the emergency room of Conway Regional Hospital.
Online guestbook: www.rollerfuneralhomes.com
Roller-Chenal Funeral Home
13801 Chenal Parkway
Little Rock, AR 72211
Published in The Log Cabin Democrat from Jan. 29 to Feb. 5, 2013