Thomas Ayers, 1937-2017

Published 10:08 am Friday, March 17, 2017

Memorial services for Thomas C. Ayers, 79, of Albert Lea will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Glenville. The Rev. David Efflandt will officiate. Interment with military honors will be at Fort Snelling National Cemetery at a later date. Friends may greet the family from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the church on Sunday. Online condolences are welcome at

Thomas Ayers

Tom died Wednesday, March 15, 2017, at Prairie Senior Cottages in Albert Lea.

Thomas Clarence Ayers was born Nov. 28, 1937, in Minneapolis, the son of Clarence and Carol Ayers (Thomas). He grew up in Minneapolis, graduating from Minneapolis South High School. After a short time at the University of Minnesota, Tom joined the Air Force, entering through officer candidate school, where he received his commission as a Second Lieutenant working on a B52 first as a navigator, and then as an electronics warfare officer.

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Tom was married to Julia (Judy) Crum in 1959. Son, Thomas Clarence Ayers, Jr., and daughter, Sharon Connors (Ayers), were born in the years following. The couple divorced in 1967. In 1970, Tom married Maryell Cox (O’Melia), and daughter, Sarah Efflandt (Ayers), was born in 1974. Tom and Maryell divorced in 1977.

In the years following his separation from active duty in the Air Force, Tom finished his degree at Bellevue College in Omaha, Nebraska. After completing his degree in social work, he then attended St. Paul’s School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri. During his time there, his service to his country continued, as he joined the Missouri Air National Guard, finally separating in 1970. At the conclusion of his seminary studies, Tom became a deacon in the Methodist church, and lived out his call to serve others in the reminder of his professional career as a family therapist and mentor to many interns. He enjoyed reading, music — most especially the Beach Boys — walking, visiting book stores, traveling and piloting light aircraft.

Tom is survived by his children Sharon (Jim) Connors of Minneapolis, Thomas (Tonya) Ayers of Greenwell Springs, Louisiana, and Sarah (David) Efflandt of Northwood; brother, Michael (Judy) Ayers of Minneapolis; sister-in-law, Karen Ayers of Minneapolis; grandchildren Samuel (Taylor) Ayers, Stephen (Nora) Ayers and Austin and Isabella Efflandt; and great-granddaughter, Clare Ayers. Tom is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence and Carol Ayers; and brother, Jerry Ayers.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be given to the Alzheimer’s Association.