Thomas A. Ayres
- January 15, 2023
Thomas A. Ayres
Thomas Angier Ayres III passed away from a long illness on Jan. 11, 2023. Tom was born Aug. 23, 1939, in LeMars, Iowa, to Thomas Angier Ayres II and Ruby (Taylor) Ayres. His family moved around when he was growing up, including a stint in the Miami area. His early years were notable for a love of the outdoors. He spent three summers from 1957-1959 working at the A Bar A Ranch in Encampment, Wyo.
In 1960, he married Betty Bliesener and together they had three daughters. They later divorced. In 1972 he married the love of his life, Frances Lynch. Together they had a daughter, meaning that Tom had the challenge of raising four girls. While he jokingly complained about it, he actually loved it and excelled at it. His daughters were his pride and joy.
Tom received his Pharmacy degree from the University of Iowa. His first job was with May Drug in Cedar Rapids, followed by The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. In 1972 he bought Star Drug in Williamsburg, Iowa, and settled into small town life. During this time he served on the Williamsburg Community Schools school board.
In 1981 Fran and Tom sold the drug store and moved to Norman, Oklahoma, trading in the black and gold for crimson and cream. In Oklahoma he worked for Oklahoma University Hospitals and Presbyterian Hospital until retirement. Tom and Fran enjoyed OU sports and had season tickets to football, and men’s and women’s basketball.
Music was always an important part of his life. He took after his father and played the clarinet. After retiring he played bass clarinet with the Oklahoma City Symphonic Band and the University of Oklahoma New Horizons Band. He served for many years as music librarian for the Oklahoma City Symphonic Band.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, David Ayres; and sister, Nancy Dooley.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Frances, and daughters Sara (Rick) Fisher of Moore, Okla., Chris (Brian) McAndrew of Marion, Iowa, Cathy (Steve) VanGundy of New Braunfels, Texas, and Damara (George) Lomdaridze of Hong Kong; grandchildren, Rebecca Laprade, Brynn McAndrew, BJ McAndrew, Christopher VanGundy, Zachary VanGundy, Tommy Lomdaridze and Natia Lomdaridze; and sister, Marilyn (Parke) Humphrey of Collegeville, Pa. He is also survived by Marie, his miniature poodle, who brought an immense amount of joy to his final year as well as his koi pond fish, many of whom he named.
The family is grateful to his team of caregivers at Norman Regional Hospital and the Stephenson Cancer Center. Memorials may be made to the Norman Regional Hospital Foundation or the University of Oklahoma Stephenson Cancer Center Brain Tumor Clinic.