GRAFTON – Donald Vernon Ayres Sr., 78, died suddenly at 7:19 p.m., Wednesday, November 4, 2020 in the Emergency Room at Jersey Community Hospital.
He was born on October 14, 1942 in Jerseyville and was the son of the late Vernon Leslie and Mildred Lee (Bridges) Ayres.
Donald was a lifelong resident of Jersey County, graduating with the Class of 1959 from Jersey Community High School. He enlisted with the United States Marine Corp, serving for 4 years prior to joining the United States Army, retiring as a Major with 32 years of honorable and faithful service to our country.
He married the former Linda Carol Cope on November 14, 1964 in Jerseyville and together their 54 years of marriage was blessed with three sons and many wonderful memories together as a family.
Donald enjoyed spending time in the greenhouse and gardening and above all, spending time with his grandchildren.
Surviving are three sons and their spouses, Donald and Mindy Ayres Jr.; Darran and Elisa Ayres; Dwayne Ayres and his companion, Jennifer Loving, all of Grafton; ten grandchildren, Nicholas, Trevor, Samantha, Tyler, Corey, Ansley, Ashley, Angela, Cassandra and Nicole; four great-grandchildren, Isaiah, Amelia, Braden and Evelyn; a brother and sister in-law, Denzel and Naomi Ayres of Homosassas, Florida; brothers in-law and sisters in-law, Dorothy and Richard Reno of Kane; Frances Burch of Jerseyville; Marie Cope of Granite City; Betty Kelly of Alton and Bill Ivester of Delhi; along with numerous nieces, nephews and extended family members.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Vernon and Mildred Ayres; his wife, Linda Ayres of January 14, 2019; his father in-law and mother in-law, Clarence and Cleda Cope; four brothers in-law, Richard Cope, Rev. Alfred Eugene “Gene” Cope, Richard “Dick” Kelly and Robert Burch; as well as a sister in-law, Della Ivester.
Due to current IDPH mandates, only 25 people may be inside the funeral home at a time, masks must be worn and social distancing observed.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at Crawford Funeral Home in Jerseyville.
Funeral Services will be private, followed by burial at Noble Cemetery in Otterville with the Grafton American Legion Post #648 conducting military graveside rights.
In lieu of flowers or plants, memorials may be given to St. Joseph’s Indian School, in care of the funeral home.
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