Vernon Lee “Vernie” Ayres, age 84, passed away Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012.
Vernie was born April 4, 1928 to Alan Vernon Ayres and Leora Ada Ayres of Jasper, Mo. He was a graduate of Jasper High School, Class of 1946.
After high school, he and two buddies left Jasper and joined the United States Marine Corps, being stationed at El Toro Air Base in California. He served from 1946 to 1949.
On July 27, 1951, he married Mary Francis Hodkin in Carthage. She preceded him in death in March 28, 2007. Vernie and Mary enjoyed many years of fun and excitement with friends until they were “blessed” with children!
Vernie was first a lineman, then an installer, for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company for over 30 years before he retired in 1985. During his life he enjoyed the annual trip to the “deer woods” with his buddies, affectionately known as the “Huckleberry Angels.” He always came home with a week’s worth of whiskers smelling like a campfire, but never brought home a deer!
The thing that influenced him more than anything was music. From his high school band and chorus, to the Marine Corps band, then later singing barbershop music, his love of music spanned many decades.
He was a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society and over the years was in the TriStatesmen chorus and several quartets, including the Rumble Seat 4 and the Freistatt Spielers. Vernie had a “Tuesday night date” (for singing) with longtime friend, John Reynolds, for over 30 years.
Vernie lived a full life. He was known by many as the man with the handlebar mustache, that tilled gardens, that played Santa Claus for his friends’ kids and the guy that sang barbershop music. He was involved in the family farm in Jasper as a young man, and raised beef cattle on his own for many years.
He was a member of the Telephone Pioneers, the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America, and the National Rifle Association.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary, his parents and his brother, Floyd Eugene “Tuney” Ayres.
He is survived by a son, Paul Ayres and his wife, Stephanie; a daughter, Amy Priester, and her husband Mark; grandsons, Randy Ayres, Andrew Ayres and Cameron Priester; granddaughter, Devon Priester; great-granddaughter, Addison Ayres; and a host of nieces and nephews. Vernie is also survived by a tremendous group of extended family and longtime friends.
Graveside services will be 2:00 p.m. Friday, November 30, 2012 at Park Cemetery in Carthage. Visitation will be 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Thursday, November 29, 2012 at the Ulmer Funeral Home. Online condolences may be sent at www.ulmerfh.com. Arrangements are under the direction of the Ulmer Funeral Home.
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