Wilma Jean Ayers, 95, of Rochester, passed away Thursday, November 4, 2021, at Memorial Hospital in Springfield.
Jean was born on August 27, 1926, in Rochester, the daughter of Robert and Helen (Popp) Schumacher. She married Paul Cary Ayers on January 9, 1946.
Jean partnered in farming with Paul in Rochester and lived all her life in the Rienzi, Cascade, and New City area. She graduated from Rienzi Grade School and Ball Township High School. Jean and Paul wintered in Hidalgo County, Texas for 30 years. She thoroughly enjoyed camping and traveling, traveling to all 50 states, as well as Canada, Mexico, Africa, Israel, Greece, and Central America. She loved hosting international exchange students, from India, the Netherlands, and Japan.
Jean was a lifetime member of South Fork Church of Christ where she served many years as Sunday School teacher, youth sponsor and leader of the Willing Workers. She was also a member of the Sangamon County Homemaker’s Extension club, as well as a former 4-H leader. Jean’s passions for over 40 years have been genealogical research into family history, compiling the history of South Fork Church of Christ, and delving into the history of central Illinois. Jean was also an avid fan of St. Louis Cardinals baseball and Illini basketball.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Paul, one infant brother, her sister Edna, and one great-grandchild Casimir Howells.
Jean is survived by two sons, Ron (Shirley) Ayers and Dennis (Debbie) Ayers both of Rochester, Carolyn (Ron) Ruggless of Garrard County, KY, seven grandchildren, Jackie Howells, Heather Edwards, Cary Johnson, Rebecca Weller, Amber Massa, Christopher Ayers, and Matthew Ruggless, sixteen great-grandchildren and several cousins.
Visitation will be from 4:00PM- 6:00PM on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 at South Fork Church of Christ. Funeral services will be at 10:00AM on Thursday, November 11, 2021 at the church with Pastor’s David Johnson and David Upchurch officiating. Burial will follow at Rochester Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to South Fork Church.