Donald Allen Ayres
April 1, 1943 – July 6, 2019
Donald Allen Ayres, 76 of Clear Lake, passed away on July 6 at home from complications with Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Don was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana on April 1, 1943 to Paul and Ada (Welker) Ayres. He lived most of his life in Fort Wayne before moving permanently to Clear Lake in 2013. Don graduated from Concordia Lutheran High School in 1961 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management from Purdue University in 1966. Don had a lifelong love for cars and started repairing and selling cars with his father when he was very young. Don founded Don Ayres Pontiac in 1970 at the age of 27. At the time, he was the youngest General Motors dealer in the country. He was awarded the Honda franchise in 1973. He and his dealership won many awards over 48 years in business, earning him much respect and esteem from the manufacturers whom he represented and fellow dealers. Don supported many causes in the Fort Wayne community. He and his business purchased the lighting for the Time Corners Little League’s new ballpark in 1998, and at that time, the little league was renamed Don Ayres Little League. He and his business remained strong supporters of the Don Ayres Little League since that time. Don was a life long member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne where he was baptized in 1943 and confirmed in 1957. He was most recently a member of Clear Lake Lutheran Church in Fremont. Don loved being on the water. He was a summer resident of Clear Lake for over 40 years. He loved summer boat rides and spending time with family and friends there. Don spent hours on the lake each weekend when his daughters were young, teaching them to water ski and enjoying water sports with them. The family is forever grateful to a dedicated group of caregivers (and their families) who improved the quality of his later life including, Patti White, Jenny Samulak, Laurie Shoudel, Wendi Schmucker, Abby Schmucker, Grace Schmucker, Aleesha Goodwin, and Jessica Armstrong. They enabled Don to remain at home throughout his illness. Don was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Ada (Welker) Ayres. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Sandy Ayres; daughters Sara (Mike) Ayres Craig and Alison (Mark) Ayres Birkmeier both of Fort Wayne; stepsons Mark (Loree) Johnston of Waterloo and Jeff Johnston (Marie Bradbury) of Gahanna, OH; brother Paul Ayres of Monclova, OH; brother-in-law John Grodrian of Fort Wayne; ex-wife Kathleen (Johnson) Ayres of Fort Wayne; grandchildren Kristina and Christian Urberg and John and Paul Birkmeier, all of Fort Wayne; and step grandchildren Lindsay Johnston (Tom Tondiglia) of Cuyahoga Falls, OH, Hannahlee Johnston of Pittsburgh, PA and Elizabeth and Alana Craig, both of Fort Wayne. The funeral service is on Friday, July 12 at 11 AM at Clear Lake Lutheran Church, Fremont, IN with Reverend Jeff Corder and Reverend Richard Radtke officiating. Calling will be one hour before the service. Visitation is also from 1 to 4 PM and 6 to 9 PM on Wednesday, July 10 at D.O McComb & Sons Covington Knolls Funeral Home, 8325 Covington Road, Fort Wayne, Indiana, and from 2 to 4 PM and 6 to 8 PM Thursday, July 11 at Beams Funeral Home, 200 West Toledo Street, Fremont, Indiana. Burial will be in the Clear Lake Lutheran Church Cemetery. Preferred memorials are to Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church Permanent Endowment Fund (1126 Barr Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802,) Clear Lake Lutheran Church (270 Outer Drive, Fremont, IN 46737,) the Clear Lake Yacht Club Building Fund (PO Box 668, Fremont, IN 46737) and Lewy Body Dementia Association (912 Killian Hill Road SW, Lilburn, GA 30047.)
Saint Paul's Lutheran Church Permanent Endowment Fund
1126 S. Barr Street , Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
Clear Lake Lutheran Church
270 Outer Drive, Fremont, Indiana 46737
The Clear Lake Yacht Club Building Fund
PO Box 668 , Fremont, Indiana 46737
Lewy Body Dementia Association
912 Killian Hill Road, S.W., Lilburn, Georgia 30047
- Wednesday Visitation Wednesday, July 10, 2019
- Additional Wednesday Visitation Wednesday, July 10, 2019
- Thursday Visitation Thursday, July 11, 2019
- Additional Thursday Visitation Thursday, July 11, 2019
- Friday Visitation Friday, July 12, 2019
- Funeral Service Friday, July 12, 2019
Donald Allen Ayres
Janet Doehrmann Steager
July 10, 2019
My Dad, Lloyd Doehrmann, knew Mr. Ayres, through selling Don Ayres Pontiac Honda Isuzu Air Compressors from Wayne-Vaughn Equipment Co.. Auction Party’s for Concordia Lutheran High School and Auctions. My. Parents have a Cottage on Clear Lake, now, their Grandson and Granddaughter in-law have it! Buying 2 Pontiac Grand Ams with my Dad from Mr. Ayres. We still have the 95 Pontiac Grand Am. I have many memories of Mr. Ayres with my parents and myself also. Mr. Ayres came out to see my Dad and I when we came to pick up my 95 Pontiac Grand Am, asking me, if, I liked my new car, I told him, yes. Our thoughts and Prayers are with your Family. My Dad has another friend up in Heaven with him.❤️
July 10, 2019
For fourteen years I was employed by Don in sales/sales managing in the Honda building. I always found him to be a very fair and caring employer. I have so many good memories of the high quality people who contributed to the success of Don Ayers Pontiac Honda, starting with Don.
Condolences to his family
July 9, 2019
Our thoughts and prayers for your entire family from Dr. Bussick and all the staff at Bussick Orthodontics!
Libby Bradtmiller Julian
July 8, 2019
Uncle Don is a landmark in the landscape of my childhood memories. Because my dad and Uncle Don had a business relationship and a strong friendship, it meant that we would see Don and Sandy most summers at Lake Wawasee or Clear Lake. Their laughter during cards, on the dock, or in the boat while we skied, echo in my mind along with memories of us kids doing kid things and family activities. Uncle Don and Sandy always remembered me on birthdays and graduations, I was lucky to have him as my Godfather.
My dad passed away in 2007 and we returned to Ft Wayne for the funeral. After many years away, the memory of my hometown was fuzzy and many faces were unfamiliar, but seeing Uncle Don and Sandy gave me such a sense of relief. Seeing that familiar landmark helped me get my emotional bearings and really helped me through that weekend.
My sincere condolences to you as you mourn the loss of Uncle Don. May God hold you in his arms and grant you peace that surpasses all understanding.
July 7, 2019
Condolences to all.
Went on many trips with Sandy and Don over the years but our favorite was the 15 years we shared a condo in Cayman Island. We spent evenings having delicious dinners all over the island some our favorites we’d go to each year. We’d play cards everyday, Euchre, ( the gals won most of the time) and the days filled with beach time and adventures all over the island as well. We even came to Clear Like over the years, first time I have ever been to a lake and fell in love with it just like Don did. I will miss his smile and mischievous laughter and the twinkle in his eyes.
Lynne and Tom O’Donnell
July 7, 2019
I had the pleasure of working (Sales)for Don in the Honda Store in the early 90's and my son, Shane, also worked (Sales) there in 20teens. Don was a a great owner to work for.
July 7, 2019
So sorry to hear about Mr. Ayres passing. He was a very special man. He was great to work for and I will always be grateful for the opportunity he gave me and to be able to be part of such a great place to work. RIP Don. You will be missed.