March 31, 1945 - March 6, 2016

 

Alvin Guy Ayers, 95 years old,born Haven Township, St Cloud, Minnesota September 10, 1920 to parents Mary E. Schwochert and Guy W.Ayers. Alvin graduated from St Cloud Technical High School in 1938. He attended St Cloud Teachers College from 1938 to 1942. While enrolled he joined the Civil Air Patrol where he learned to fly. He interrupted his studies when WWII broke out, initially serving as a civilian flight instructor, then enlisting and serving four years as a navy pilot. He received an honorable discharge in 1946 with a rank of LT.USNR.

March 31, 1945, while in the Navy, Alvin married Lieutenant (jg) Eileen M. Cummings, a Navy nurse from Boston, Massachusetts at the Opa Locka, Air Base, Miami Florida.

In 1947 following the war he returned to St Cloud MN and took a position as a commercial pilot. He retired as a Captain from Braniff International in 1980 after 33 years of service. Captain Ayers logged more than 31,000 hours of flight covering an estimated distance of 9,300,000 miles.

After his father’s death in 1942, Alvin and Eileen took over operation of the family farm. Alvin has been quoted as saying “when spring came I just climbed on the tractor and started farming”. Alvin actively farmed for more than 65 years. He and Eileen had 5 children, who continue to operate the farm today. The farm has been in continuous family ownership for 138 years, since 1878.

On July 22, 1967 the farmstead was hit by a tornado. Alerted by a phone call from his mother, Alvin and Eileen, 4 children and two guests narrowly survived by taking refuge in the basement. All the buildings were destroyed, entire vehicles and farm implements disappeared. With the support of neighbors, friends and family the decision was made to rebuild the home on the original foundation and continue farming.

His commitment to farming extended to a long life of community service and environmental stewardship, in part informed by his family’s experience during the 1930s' dust bowl.

Alvin served on the Haven Township Board as Town Clerk from 1964-1966. He acted as Secretary Treasurer during the organization of the Tri-County Farmers Union Elevator, later named the Clear Lake Elevator and served on the Board 1958-1971. He was actively involved in the Sherburne County DFL and served two terms as Chair. He was a life-long member of St Augustine’s Parish.

Ayers was elected Sherburne County Commissioner for District #3 in 1980 and served for 12 years.

Alvin was recognized for land conservation practices and received a number of awards including recognition for twenty years of participation in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

Many people knew Alvin and his wife Eileen through their roles as Fire Wardens. Ayers served as Fire Warden for 48 years, 1967-2014. Neighbors came to their home for a burning permit, which typically included a discussion of local, state and national politics!

Ayers was proud to be granted his Bachelor of Elective Studies in 1987 from St Cloud State University completing the degree he had begun in 1938.

Ayers died peacefully, March 6, 2016 at the Country Manor Nursing Home in Sartell, MN. He was preceded in death by his father, mother and wife, Eileen. He is survived by his sister, Margaret (Ayers) Snyder of California; five children, Stephen G. Ayers (Deanna Hammond), Kathryn Ayers, Evelyn Ayers (Timothy Looby), Jeanne Ayers, Mary Louise Ayers (Phil Canova); and nine beloved grandchildren Grey Boyer (Rena LaDuke), Kelsey Smogard-Ayers, Soren Smogard-Ayers, Maureen Ayers Looby (Mathew Olson), Bridget Ayers Looby, Anna Ayers Looby, Emily Ayers-Johnson(Adam Langenfeld), Margaret Ayers-Johnson, Joseph Ayers-Johnson; and three great grandchildren, Alexandra and Mason Boyer and Erin Ayers Johnson-Langenfeld; and nieces and nephews.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 11, 2016 at St. Augustine’s Catholic Church in St. Cloud. Visitation will be held from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Thursday at the Daniel Funeral Home in St. Cloud and one hour prior to services and the church on Friday. Reverend Aaron Nett will officiate. Burial with military honors will be held at Assumption Cemetery in St. Cloud.