Condolence & Memory Journal

Dear Pat - I always knew of you and your husband's generosity, wisdom and compassion - and yet readng his obituary today just took my breath away to learn of his incredible devotion, dedication and amazing accomplishments - incuding marrying you. My heartfelt sympathies to you and your family. Lynda Baker

Posted by Lynda Baker - Austin, TX - Family Friend   August 13, 2018

A most distinguished life of service to others.

Posted by Lynn Gilbert - Ann Arbor, MI, MI - Family Friend   July 21, 2018

Pat, remembering you and your family in the days past and the days to come. I so enjoyed getting to know you both through FBC Austin and appreciate Bob's words of wisdom and encouragement on many occasions. Praying for you. Suzy McLaughlin, Frisco, Texas

Posted by Suzy McLaughlin - Frisco, TX - Friend   July 16, 2018

By the good fortune of getting to know Robert A, I was invited to sit next to Robert during the course of a luncheon honoring their great gifts to the natural world and the Texas environment. In the course of that conversation I saw a glimpse of all the many gifts so many have commented upon, and I came away with a profound sense that he treated me, as all people, as a friend. I considered myself fortunate that day and think of it often. Not many people can touch others so gracefully and openly. The world's loss is Heaven's gain, but he may truly have been there all along--making earth his heaven--and sharing it with the rest of us.

Posted by Robert Steinbomer - LOCKHART, TX - Acquaintance   July 08, 2018

Bob has left a generous and beautiful legacy and will live on in the lives of thousands. I have been so inspired by the Ayers family over the years and after reading Bob's obituary my admiration grows even greater. You will all be in my prayers as you grieve the earthly presence of your beloved patriarch. xoxoliz stewart

Posted by Liz Stewart - Austin, TX - Acquaintance   July 07, 2018

Pat and Vera, what a wonderful husband and father you were blessed to have! Bob and I served together on a couple of committees relating to Laity Lodge and the HEB Foundation. When he found out I knew Vera, his whole face lit up! What a kind and sweet person, and for a man who had every reason to be "puffed up" with all his many accomplishments, he was always so humble and approachable. So sorry I was out of town for the memorial service or I surely would have gone.

Posted by Jeri Muhich - Austin, TX - Friend   July 07, 2018

I didn't have the pleasure of meeting Bob Ayres. I wish I had. Sending love and our condolences to his family.

Posted by Jeanne Guy - Austin, TX - Family Friend   July 05, 2018

A significant part of my Sewanee experience was the mentorship, friendship and wise guidance I received from Bob Ayres. He shall have a long and valued legacy in my life, and the lives of many. Sending much love to the entire Ayres family. Susan Folwell, C'81 (Washington DC)

Posted by Susan Folwell - Washington, DC - Friend   July 01, 2018


Bob has been most like a father to me, the closest to a father that I never had. He was so kind and encou-raging...any little thing I did he thought was just wonderful! We always ended our conversations with prayer.

I always called him on Father's Day and his birthday September 1st. When I played and sang my birthday arrangement for him he said, "I've never been serenaded like that before!"

The greatest gift he ever gave me was conducting the memorial service in August, 2013 for my little Presto Magnifico, my bichon frise, just about the best friend I've ever had. Pat came too.

In 2011 I attended the service at the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest awarding Bob his second honorary degree for helping our church so very much. I even got to take pictures of him and the bishop of our diocese he was serving under.

May our lives continue his kindness, encouragement and joy!

Posted by Nell Trimble - Lakeway, TX - Family Friend   June 28, 2018

What an amazing life Bob had! It was my good fortune to get to know Bob at church, and later Pat and their fine family. He was generous beyond measure, thoughtful, kind, considerate, and devoted to so many special things. I feel fortunate to have known them even for a short few years. I can't even begin to imagine the vacuum his passing will leave. May good memories sustain your family at this sorrowful time.

Posted by Holly Decherd - Georgetown, TX - Friend   June 28, 2018

On behalf of the Healy-Murphy Center I would like to offer our sincere condolences and prayers on the passing of Bob Ayers. The Shield-Ayers family is in our hearts and thoughts. Throughout the years we have been blessed by the generosity and love of this family. Through your kindness the lives of many young people have been enriched. What a tremendous legacy! Doug Watson, Executive Director

Posted by Doug Watson - San Antonio, TX - Family Friend   June 28, 2018

Pat, with deep sympathy to you and all the family. Bob was a special person with such a big heart; as I especially saw this in love for animals, just one area of that kindness. With love, Janice Brake

Posted by Janice Brake - San Antonio, TX - Friend   June 27, 2018

Our sincere condolences from the King family in Ft Davis. What a great kind man and we are keeping the entire Ayres family in our prayers.

Posted by James and Tammy King - Ft Davis, TX - Friend   June 27, 2018

Bob ( like Patricia and their two children, Vera and Bob ) was truly the most outstanding , wonderful , caring and lovely friend I have ever had the unbelievable good fortune to have in my life. I will be remembering Bob's strong inspirational and positive influence on me always.

Posted by Rick Triplett - Austin, TX   June 27, 2018

I send my condolences to the Ayres family. While I didn't know Bob Ayres, Sr., I deeply respect and appreciate the generosity of the Shield-Ayres family, the Foundation, and El Ranchito nature camp. What a beautiful legacy Bob Ayres has left in this world.

Posted by Mary Ellen Isaacs - Austin, TX - Family Friend   June 26, 2018

It has been a great joy to experience the deep spiritual presence of Bob Ayres in this final years of his life. I give thanks for his faithful witness and generative life. He has offered grace upon grace to so many of us. Molly T. Marshall, President of Central Seminary, Shawnee, KS

Posted by Molly Marshall - Shawnee, KS - Friend   June 26, 2018

Sending my condolences to Mrs. Ayres and the rest of the family. I really enjoyed my visits with Mr. Ayres and will always remember his kind, gentle spirit.
With love,
Alice Foster

Posted by A friend   June 25, 2018

There are many lessons Bob taught me for which I will always be profoundly grateful. Bob was a faithful man with a large heart and a deep love for his Lord, constant in prayer and an example of generosity.

Posted by Richard Kew - Franklin, TN - Friend   June 24, 2018

I'm thinking of you all with love and gratitude.

Jane Louis

Posted by A friend   June 24, 2018

Bob was so graceful, thoughtful, kind, wise, joyful, servant and follower of Jesus. He will be deeply missed.

Posted by Howard and Carol Hovde    June 24, 2018

Rest in peace dear Robert.YOU made a difference. Maggie Hefley, San Antonio

Posted by Maggie Hefley - San Antonio, TX - Friend   June 23, 2018

A truly good man and a great servant to Sewanee. I was fortunate to be on first name basis with him in San Antonio in the 70" EQG!

Posted by David Jockusch, C 66 - Rome, GA, GA - Friend   June 23, 2018

Prayers and thoughts to Pat & all the Ayers Family. My late husband grew up in SA across the street from the Ayers Family on Laurel Heights Place, SA. He had many memories of growing up "adventures" there. In later years I met both Bob & Pat when he was at Sewanee and we both had great memories of Bob.
Marie McShane (Mrs. Joe B. McShane, Jr.) Austin, TX

Posted by Marie McShane - The Hills, TX - Friend   June 22, 2018

Bob was a wonderful example of one who left this world far better than he found it. I am grateful to have known him. My heart-felt sympathy Pat, Bob, Vera and to all if his grandchildren and friends.

Posted by Molly Stevens - Austin, TX - Friend   June 22, 2018

In Bob's first years as Vice Chancellor, I was the University Chaplain. He was a great support and an inspiration to me. His passing is a great loss to the Sewanee family. May he Rest In Peace.

Posted by Charles & Janet Kiblinger - Sarasota, FL - Coworker   June 22, 2018

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time. Bob was such an amazing and fine person. I will truly miss him.

Posted by kathleen kuper - san antonio, TX - Acquaintance   June 22, 2018

Hannah and I send our condolences and love. Uncle Bobby was a shining example of service to God, family, and the world. We'll be praying for the repose of his soul and all of the family.

Posted by Matthew Bradley - Murray, KY - Family   June 22, 2018

Mary and I send our love and condolences to you, Pat, and the entire Ayres family. Bob's service to the University, St. Mary's and the entire Sewanee community has left an indelible mark on our past while providing inspiration for our future success. God Bless you all.

Posted by Nick Babson, C '68 - Sewanee, TN - Friend   June 22, 2018

As students, we felt so welcomed at Fulford, the Ayres' home; as a young adult I felt understood and valued by Mr. Ayres; as an alumnus leader, I was supported and listened to; and as a mature adult I tried to follow the quiet example he provided, to demonstrate action where needed, financially and in presence. His and Pat's legacy are also his fine family, whom I admire, and who follow in their footsteps.

Posted by Lisa McDonough Howick, C'81 - Sewanee, TN - Student   June 22, 2018

My love to all of you, especially to Margie and Bob, who were my Sewanee classmates. I have such fond memories of seeing your father's warm smile during my years on the mountain. And I was blessed to be singing in the University Choir on the day of his installation as Vice Chancellor. Well done, thou good and faithful servant.

Posted by Kathryn Cureton Burke - Atlanta, GA - Student   June 22, 2018

Thank you Mr. Ayers for being such a blessing to Sewanee and its community. My love to Bob and Margy! I love you, two. I pray this time will be one of many great remembrances and stories.

Posted by Beth Marchman C'79 - Sharpsburg, GA   June 22, 2018

Vera, my heart feels the pain for your family's loss. So many of us from the class of 1982 were blessed to have known your father and mother. Robin Friend

Posted by Robin Friend - Dana Point, CA - Student   June 21, 2018

Bob Ayres interviewed me when I was a candidate for a position at Sewanee. I remember the occasion vividly and thinking, I want to work for this man and teach in this place. I have and have never regretted being a part of an institution he believed in and represented so well.

Posted by David Landon -, TN   June 21, 2018

Pat. Sumner and I send our deepest sympathy to you and your family. All our love, Marian Weary Hopkins

Posted by Marian Hopkins - Concord, MA - Classmate   June 21, 2018

Pat, I just heard about Bobs death and wanted to send you my condolences along with some love and prayers. He was an amazing and generous man and I am so glad I got to know him and you a little better after Keiths death.

Posted by Andrea Miller - Austin, TX - friend   June 21, 2018

I absolutely loved the tradition he started when he told students that if they ever saw his porch light on at night, they were welcome to come visit. His willingness to be accessible to us was refreshing and is part of what makes my mountain experience so memorable! (Class of 1981)

Posted by The Rev. Susan B. Haynes, C'81 - South Bend, IN - Student   June 21, 2018

A true Spirit filled Sewanee gentleman and disciple of Jesus Christ called to serve as VC during a kairos moment for the University of the South with resounding successes and blessings, and whose great kindness, wisdom, friendship and hospitality during my campus visits before, during, and after my short "stint" as John Bratton's successor served as my Balm of Gilead and tangible grace of God sufficient for me. We are praying for all of Bob's family and friends confident that God's peace will guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and be a constant affirmation that we will see him again!

Posted by Thomas Whitaker Jr - Bradenton, FL - Friend   June 21, 2018

Bob was the one person who saved The University of the South from its financial troubles in evidence when I arrived in 1980. His dedication over so many years to this institution has helped to make it the amazing place that it is. I extend, with fond memories, my sympathies to Vera (my former student), Robert (highly spoken of by my Spanish colleagues), and, of course, Pat.

Posted by Peggy Arenas Bonds - Sewanee, TN - Teacher   June 21, 2018

I was student member of the search committee led by Bishop Girault Jones for a new Vice-Chancellor. The meetings and prayers led us to Bob Ayres . The right man at the right time for Sewanee. Thank you Mr. Ayres for helping to preserve and grow our alma mater. Thomas Williams MD C'78. Sarasota

Posted by thomas williams - Sarasota, FL - Classmate   June 21, 2018

Words fail me as I seek to convey my abiding gratitude and love for you who loved me when I needed it most. Loving others as Christ loves you is second nature to you all. I am but one of many whom you have blessed. As you grieve Mr. Ayres' loss and celebrate his life, I am with you. May he Rest In Peace and Rise in Glory.

Posted by Bitsy Rogers Sloan - Vicksburg, MS - Family Friend   June 21, 2018

A winsome, transformative exemplar and mentor in the things of Sewanee and of the Spirit of Christ. My fond memories of Bob are ever vivid and of enduring thankfulness. Condolences to Pat and the family, both immediate and immeasurably extensive as that family truly is. May Bob Rest In Peace and Rise in Glory.

Posted by William (with Elisabeth) McKeachie - Charleston   June 21, 2018

Yolande and I send our love to Pat, Vera, Bob, and all the family. Know you are are in our thoughts and prayers. Bob was, and is, such a special person. He was a loving and compassionate friend, always hospitable and welcoming. He also gave all of us a model of a true Christian leader. We will be with you in spirit at the memorial service. Wish we could be there.

Posted by Robin Gottfried - Sewanee, TN - Coworker   June 21, 2018

The Rev John Arthur and Waynoka Lawrence give thanks for Bob and Pat and their dedication to Sewanee: The university of the South and to our whole Episcopal family.

Posted by John Lawrence - Kerrville, LA - Friend   June 21, 2018

To Pat, Vera, and Robert A: Thinking of you in these difficult times and sending you love.

Posted by Gilbert and Maggie Amine - Austin, TX - Family Friend   June 21, 2018

Lyn and I send our sympathy and love. We will always remember Bob's great service to the University and his many kindnesses to us over the years. God bless and keep you all, Lyn and James Bradford

Posted by James Bradford - Birmingham, AL - Friend   June 21, 2018

As a visiting professor at Sewanee while he was Vice-Chancellor, I found Bob an inspiration, a true leader. I believe we are all aware of how much he did for his alma mater over the years. Sincere condolences to his family.

(Dr.) Richard Tillinghast, Sewanee, Tennessee,C'62, H'08

Posted by Richard Tillinghast - PAPAIKOU, HI - Friend   June 21, 2018

I send love to Mrs. Ayres, to Bob and Margy, and to all your family. I have great memories of Mr. and Mrs. Ayres' kindness to me when I was a student at Sewanee.

Molly Pennington Myers C'80

Posted by Molly Pennington Myers - Overland Park, KS - Friend   June 21, 2018

Bob was always a joy and inspiration to around. He and Pat have blessed a multitude by their commitment to Christ and ministry in His name. What a wonderful life he graced us with. Bill Pinson, Dallas, Texas Jun 21, 2018

Posted by William Pinson - DUNCANVILLE, TX - Acquaintance   June 21, 2018

My love to Vera, with thanksgiving for Mr. Ayres' example of how we should all live, Mary Steele F. Lawler

Posted by Mary Steele Lawler - Indianola, MS - Friend   June 21, 2018

To the Ayres family, you are in my thoughts and prayers. While a student at Sewanee, I thought of Vice-Chancellor Ayres as a fine leader of the university, who was also a mentor for many of the students. And, as time passed, he never stopped his ministry of service. He was a true believer, with the great gift of leadership. May the sorrow of your loss, which you feel in your heart be lightened by the love that surrounds you. In God's grace,

Posted by Suzanne Mott Dansby - Atlanta, GA - Friend   June 21, 2018

My deepest sympathy to the widow son and daughter for a loss we all share.

Posted by Saleh Haskouri - San Benito, TX - Student   June 21, 2018

Dear Pat, I'm deeply saddened by news of Bob's death, but deeply grateful for his life and for the remarkable legacy that he (along with you, always) has carved out. What astonishing accomplishments that live on in the countless people who are beneficiaries, most of them unaware. My heart goes out to you and your family as you grieve this loss, deep but transitory, because the Lord is risen! God's peace and strength be with you. Love, from Art & Shirley Simon

Posted by Art and Shirley Simon - Bowie, MD - Friend   June 21, 2018

Pat and all in the circle of love around Bob, know that our love, appreciation and sense of loss joins with yours in the celebration of Bob's life and your journey together. Michael Smith

Posted by Michael Smith - ASHEVILLE, NC - Friend   June 21, 2018