Obit: Ayers, Donald James #2 (1932 - 2008)

Contact: Crystal Wendt

Surnames: Ayers, Thoma, Thompson, Bertz, McGee

----Source: Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, Wood Co., Wis.) Tuesday, Aug 5, 2008

Ayers, Donald James (8 April 1932 - 16 July 2008)

Donald J. Ayers

NEILLSVILLE -- Donald James Ayers, 76, of Neillsville, died July 16, 2008, of congestive heart failure.

Don was born April 8, 1932, in Marshfield, the son of Claude and Florence (Thoma) Ayers. He grew up hunting and fishing throughout Clark County and enjoyed Thanksgiving as it brought both family and friends together for deer season and the holiday.

After graduating from Neillsville High, Don joined the Marine Corps, became sergeant, and served from 1951 to 1954 during the Korean War. In 1956, upon returning from the Marine Corps, Don married Carol Jean Thompson, a registered nurse and childhood friend. (During World War II, neighborhood children, including the Ayers and Thompson kids, had formed the "32nd Division of East 9th Street," playing as nurses, medics and soldiers along the banks of O'Neill Creek.)

Don joined the Wisconsin State Patrol as it first formed in 1956. He was in the second graduating class of troopers and served with them for 17 years. During that time, he developed lifelong friendships with fellow troopers, won numerous trophies for marksmanship and helped countless people along the state's roadways. In 1973, Don transferred into investigations and the family moved to Solon Springs. The family returned to Neillsville in 1979, and Don retired in 1987.

Don had many adventures in Alaska, traveling there often to visit his three children, and spent weeks in the wild, hunting, fishing or gold-panning. He bought property and lived in Alaska for a few years, then returned to Neillsville. An avid outdoorsman, Don pursued game as big as moose, as small as wood-cock, as wily as turkeys or white-tailed deer. Landing a feisty salmon or scrappy trout always made him smile.

Don was an excellent gunsmith and storyteller; he was strong, humorous, well-read and creative. He was a member of the NRA and the United Church of God.

He is survived by his former wife, Carol, Neillsville; children in Alaska, James (Kathy), Wasilla, Jean, Anchorage, and Darrel, Nikiski; sisters, Joan (Robert) Bertz, Loyal, and Charlotte Ayers, Beaufort, S.C.; brothers, Wendell (Ruthe) Ayers, Corbett, Ore., and Melvin (Marian) Ayers, Oshkosh; two grandchildren, Patrick Ayers, Athens, Ga., and Tiffany (Shanon) McGee with great-grandbaby Anya, Fairbanks, Alaska.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 3, 2008, at the American Legion in Neillsville.

Instead of flowers, please donate to the American Heart Association or the Diabetes Society.



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