AYRES, Thomas James
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Thomas James Ayres, aged 64, passed away December 5, 2012 at Surrey Memorial Hospital, surrounded by his loving family. He put up a brief but valiant fight against a very aggressive Lymphoma. He is survived by his wife and best friend Sandra, sons Bryan (Akane) and Alan (Erin), brothers Patrick (Dale) and Garnet (Jane), mother-in-law Jessie, brother-in-law Ed (Barbara) Cheetham and his three adored grandchildren Miya, Masa, and Gavin Ayres. Tom will be missed by his many nieces, nephews, cousins and good friends. Born in Vancouver to Tom and Vi Ayres, he grew up on Saltspring, North Vancouver and then Tsawwassen. Early days meant work in one of the family's logging camps for the summer and then on the ferries through university. It was in grade 12 when he met the love of his life, Sandra. Tom graduated from Delta Secondary, received a Bachelor of Education Degree from SFU and a Master of Education Degree from UBC. Both Tom and Sandra were elementary school teachers in New Westminster and Richmond respectively. Tom later moved to Surrey, taught primary and then became the district helping teacher in Science. He was a well respected Elementary School Principal in Surrey. Tom was a true aquarian, always helping students, parents, teachers and everyone he met. He was also a man of many talents it didn't seem to matter what the task was, Tom could do it. He was an artist in both paint and metal, a welder, mechanic, house builder, and baker. He was affectionately called a "Renaissance Man" by those who knew him well. A long time resident of South Surrey, Tom and Sandra raised their two boys both at home and at their cottage on Saturna. Tom often would involve Bryan and Alan in many creative plans and projects that often ended with wonderful stories of adventure, Sandra didn't always know about. They were fortunate to retire early and spend many happy times splitting their time between home and Saturna. Involvement in the community on Saturna included contributing much time, energy and his administrative skills to the success of the Lamb Barbecue as well as to the directorship of Old Point Farm. Tom loved boating and fishing with his sons and brothers. Whether bagging a marlin in Mexico, springs off of Tofino, or delighting in teaching his young grandchildren how to fish for shiners off the dock, Tom loved the west coast. Tom had a remarkable ability to engage others, testament to many happy hours of welcomed friends, neighbours, family and more on the deck at Saturna. More than a host, a friend to so many. A celebration of Tom's life will be at an open house at the family home in South Surrey, Sunday, December 16th from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, Tom's request was for donations to BC Cancer Foundation, Non-Hodgkins Lymphona Research.
Victory Memorial Park Funeral Centre
14831 28th Ave
Surrey, BC V4P1P3
Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province on Dec. 9, 2012