GRAFTON- Vernon Leslie Ayres, 95, died at 2:58 p.m., Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at the Chapters HPS Hospice Care Center of Citrus County, Florida.He was born into a large and loving family in Jersey County on Feb. 12, 1921 and was the son of the late Ernest & Freda (McCoy) Ayres.Vernon served his country during World War II with the U.S. Army, and with his hard work ethic built a successful life around his occupations and his family. He began working as a heavy equipment operator building highways in Missouri, and worked in the tool & die department at Abbott Machine Shop in Alton. He retired in 1984 as a machinist at McDonnell-Douglas Aircraft after many years of service. During most of this time, Vernon also operated his farm off Powerline Road in Otter Creek Township in Jersey County, where he was able to enjoy his life that he had built for himself and the family that he treasured.Music was an instrumental part of his life, and he was blessed with the ability to play most any instrument. He participated in numerous musical groups, sharing his talents with many individuals. In addition Vernon hosted a one hour musical program for many years with the WOKZ radio station in Alton.He married the former Mildred Lee Bridges on Nov. 1, 1947 at the First Baptist Church in Jerseyville, and the two were blessed with nearly 57 years together, before her death on Aug. 11, 2004.Surviving are his two sons & daughters in law, Denzel & Naomi Ayres of Homosassas, Florida; and Donald & Linda Ayres of Grafton; six grandchildren & their spouses, Sherri & John Hutchens of Johnsonville, IL., Sheila Blasa, and her fiance' Kelly Hubbs of Jerseyville, Denzel & Jody Ayres Jr. of Ashland, Ky., Donald & Mindy Ayres Jr. of Grafton, Darran & Elisa Ayres of Grafton, and Dwayne Ayres of Grafton; three step grandchildren and their spouses, John Crader of Ashland, Ky., Troy & Holly Crader of Sedgewickville, Mo., and Steven & Pam Crader of Jackson, Mo.; 18 Great Grandchildren; four great great grandchildren; two brothers, Raymond Ayres and Ernest Ayres both of Jerseyville; four sisters, Juanita Garrett of Dowell, Grace Oliver and Phyllis Haynes both of Jerseyville, and Mary Cresswell of Elsah; along with many loving nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents and his beloved wife, he was preceded in death by a great grandson, Jeffrey Scott Ayres on Sept. 24, 1998; a grandson in law, Kent "Albino" Griffith; two brothers, Harold Ayres and Everett Ayres; and three sisters, Hazel Wallace, Marita Ayres and Emma Ayres.Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m., Monday at the Crawford Funeral Home in Jerseyville.Funeral services will be conducted at 10 a.m., Tuesday at the First Assembly of God in Jerseyville, with the Rev. Larry Hayes officiating.Burial will be in the Noble Cemetery in Otterville, with the Grafton American Legion Post 648 conducting military graveside rites.In recognition of their loving care to Vernon, memorials may be given to the Chapters HPS Hospice Care Center in Lecanto, Florida.
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