Paul Ayers, 94, of Rochester, passed away on Monday, January 6, 2020 at Heritage Health in Springfield.
Paul was born on October 9, 1925, in Rochester, the son of Andrew and Ada (Cary) Ayers. He married Wilma Jean Schumacher and she survives.
Paul was a lifetime member of South Fork Church of Christ where he served as an Elder, Sunday school teacher, sponsor, and chairman of the building committee. He was also a member of the Sangamon County Farm Bureau, many agriculture club activities and was a 4-H leader for 15 years. He enjoyed camping, traveling and traveled in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Africa, Israel, Greece and the Central American Countries. Paul also hosted students from India, Netherlands, and Japan. He and Jean wintered in Hidalgo, Texas, for 30 years.
He served in the US Army from 1943-1945 and was in the 106th Infantry Division, captured during the Battle of the Bulge and was held as POW in 3 camps in Germany until released by US tank troops at Salsburg.
He began farming with his family in Rochester Township and lived all of his life in the old Cascade and New City Community. He was as graduate of New City Grade School and Ball Township High School and was an avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and Illini Basketball.
Paul was a member of the American Legion, VFW, Springfield Chapter of Prisoners of War and enjoyed his Honor Flight to Washington DC.
He was preceded in death by his parents; one brother Russell; stepmother Gladys; stepbrothers, Howard and Jerald Strawn; and one great-grandchild Cassius Howells.
Paul is survived by his wife, Wilma Jean; two sons, Ron (Shirley) Ayers and Dennis (Debbie) Ayers both of Rochester; one daughter, Carolyn (Ron) Ruggless of Stanford, KY; seven grandchildren, Jackie Howells, Heather Edwards, Cary (Micah) Johnson, Rebecca Weller, Amber Massa, Christopher Ayers and Matthew Ruggless; one sister, Mary Alice Long; sixteen great-grandchildren; one nephew, Larry Ayers; and several cousins.
Visitation will be from 5-7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 at South Fork Church of Christ in Rochester. Funeral services will be at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 9, 2020 at the church with Reverend David Johnson officiating. Burial will follow at Rochester Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to South Fork Church of Christ or to the Land of Lincoln Honor Flight.
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