R. William Ayres Jr. | AspenTimes.com
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R. William Ayres Jr.

Retired businessman and active member of the Aspen community Bill Ayres died in Denver on March 30 after a lengthy illness. Ayres was born in New Hartford, N.Y., on March 8, 1926, to Russell William and Helen Gates Ayres. In 1948, he graduated from Yale University with a degree in electrical engineering and married Rebecca Thatcher, of Lookout Mountain, Tenn. They had four children.His career took him to Schenectady, N.Y., then to Philadelphia, where he worked as an engineer for General Electric. After a brief stint with Arthur D. Little in the Boston area, he took executive management positions with Westinghouse Air Brake Company, in Pittsburgh; Mosler Safe Company, in Hamilton, Ohio; and J. I. Case Company, in Racine, Wisc.A lifelong skier, Bill first came to Aspen in the 1960s. He and his wife purchased a vacation home here in 1970 and became full-time residents in 1988 upon his retirement from J.I. Case. In Aspen, as in his previous homes, Bill believed in participating in the community. Throughout his life, he was an active member of the Episcopal Church and served on numerous hospital boards. In Aspen, he served on the finance committee of the Aspen Valley Hospital and was then elected to the board of directors. Bill was a member of Christ Episcopal Church in Aspen and a founding member of a new mission, St. Peter’s of the Valley in Basalt. Additionally, Bill served on the Pitkin County Planning & Zoning Commission and was an active Rotarian.Bill Ayres is survived by his wife, Becky, of Aspen, his sister, Ann Borner, of The Village, Fla., and four children: Russell W. Ayres III (Kathy), of Pittsburgh, Carolyn Newell of Denver, the Rev. Stephen T. Ayres (Lisa) of Boston, and Nancy Friel (Michael) of Sacramento. He is survived by seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Memorial services will be held on Friday, April 29, at 3 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church in Aspen. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the St. Peter’s of the Valley Building Fund, 200 Elk Run Road, Basalt, CO 81621, or the Colorado Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, 455 Sherman St., Suite 500, Denver, CO 80203.


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