Francis Harlan Ayres, son of Francis and Doris (Wheelen) Ayres, was born July 3, 1938 at Lincoln, Nebraska. Bud, as he was known, grew up on a farm and attended country school until the eighth grade. Bud transferred from a one-room rural schoolhouse to high school at Lincoln High; what a change! In 1956 the family moved to Maloy, Iowa. He graduated from Mount Ayr high school in 1957.
In 1959 he went into electronics. He attended classes at Dewey Tech Institute. After graduating, Bud returned home. Bud didn’t stay at home long as he entered and served his country in the U.S. Army. Bud was stationed in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and Fort Riley, Kansas. Bud returned home and worked at Iowa Grain Company in Mount Ayr. At the same time, he was in the Army Reserves. Bud was honored as Mr. Reservist of the Year in his unit in Creston, Iowa.
Bud married Clara Harris in 1965. Together they had two daughters, Deb and Pam. They later divorced. In 1966 Bud’s dream of working electronics came true when he landed a job with the local telephone company. He continued working with the telephone company until his retirement. Bud was a volunteer fireman with the Mount Ayr Fire Department for 15 years.
In 1991 Bud married Irene Smith Coverdell. With this marriage came an extended family with the addition of stepson John and stepdaughter Clara. They became a happy family.
Not wanting to sit around after retiring from the telephone company, Bud and Irene started a mowing business. They took care of cemeteries and Judge Lewis Park. In the winter months they went to south Texas. Bud enjoyed many new friends and some became like family to him.
After a courageous battle with cancer, Bud passed away at his home in Mount Ayr on November 23, 2011. He was preceded in death by his parents; parents-in-law, Cecil and Vesta Smith; son, John Coverdell; granddaughter, Susan McVey; brothers, Jimmie, Gene and Gerald Ayres; sister, Bonnie Ayres, and brother-in-law, Richard Smith.
Left to cherish his memory include his loving wife, Irene Ayres of Mount Ayr, Iowa; daughters, Clara May Coverdell of Osceola, Iowa, Deb Ayres and Pam (Rick) McVey; grandchildren, Shasta, Tyler and Jared Coverdell and Tommy McVey; brother, Rolland Ayres of Lincoln, Nebraska; two sisters, Doris (Jerry) Williams of Joplin, Missouri and Kaye Brandhorst of Waterloo, Iowa; brothers and sisters-in-law, Cecil (Dorothy) Smith, Betty Schnackenberg, Phyllis (Dale) Cregeen, Jerry (Robin) Smith, Barb (Bob) Strange, Gary (Brenda) Smith, John Smith and Roxie (Charlie) Fletcher, and nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
A memorial fund has been established in his name to be decided later.
Services were conducted at Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr on Saturday, November 26, 2011, with Rev. Charles Hawkins officiating. Musicians were Nancy Sackett, Mary Davenport and Margaret Bickers.
Honorary pallbearers included Shasta Coverdell, Tyler Coverdell, Jared Coverdell, Jennifer Worthington, Jason Worthington and Jacque Verbick.
Military rites were by Ringgold Post #172 and Iowa Honor Guard Unit.
Burial was at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Mount Ayr.