John Walter Ayers, age 100, passed away on February 10, 2016. He was born January 14, 1916 in Chillicothe, Texas to Sidney and Dorothy Ellen (Walker) Ayers. He attended Chillicothe schools and was a graduate of Texas A & M University in the class of 1937 from the department of Soil and Crop Sciences. Upon graduation from college, John worked for the USDA Soil Conservation Service until he was drafted into the United States Army. After completing Officer Training School during WWII at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, he married Charlene Chandler of Hamilton, Texas. He later attended Adjutant General School at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas and served as Provost Marshall of Camp Ellis in Illinois. In 1945 after serving four years in the United States Army, he moved his family to the Ayers Ranch in Chillicothe, Texas which was established in 1883 by his grandfather, J.G. Ayers and his wife, Rebecca. He went into partnership with his father, Sidney, in ranching and wheat farming.
John continued to operate the ranch after the death of his parents and in 1983 the family was honored in ceremonies at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas for over 100 years of continuous ranching operation by members of the same family. This was the first Wilbarger County family to receive such recognition under the Texas Family Heritage Program.
John held numerous leadership roles during his many years in Chillicothe, Texas. He served on the School Board supporting school integration, the merger with the Odell schools and the new building programs. He was Chairman of the Board of the Chillicothe Hospital when the new hospital was completed in 1973 and assisted in setting in motion plans for a nursing home which was established across from the hospital. He served a number of years as chairman of the Board of the First National Bank of Chillicothe, and Chairman of the Board of the First United Methodist Church. He was a member of both the Scottish and York Rite Masonic Orders, a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason and a Shriner.
John Ayers is survived by his two daughters, Anne Ayers Wiginton and husband Denton Wiginton of Plano, Texas and Jane Ayers Walter and husband Kenneth Walter of Dallas, Texas; three grandchildren, Cullen Wiginton and wife Jan of San Francisco, California, Brad Wiginton and wife Cassie of Manhattan Beach, California, Lee Nelson and husband Jeffrey of Dallas, Texas; five great grandchildren; Parker and Charlene Wiginton, Ayers, Sam, and Hunt Nelson; John’s sister, Sidney Merle Allen; nieces and other loving relatives and friends
He was preceded in death by his parents, Sidney and Dorothy Ayers and his precious wife of 71 years, Charlene Chandler Ayers.
Funeral Services will be Saturday, February 20, 2016 at 1 PM at the First Presbyterian Church of Vernon, Texas with Rev. Dave Treat officiating. Interment will be at Chillicothe Cemetery under the direction of the Sullivan Funeral Home with Rev. Ron Fox officiating at gravesite.
Memorial contributions may be made to: VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, 8585 N. Stemmons Fwy., Suite 2005, Dallas, TX 75247, 214-424-5600 or the charity of your choice.