Tommy Ayers

Waldo Funeral Home

Tommy Ayers

Captain Tommy Keith Ayers entered his heavenly home on September 11, 2021. Tom was born to Wilburn F. and Geneva Jane Ayers at the family home in Leonard, Texas on July 10, 1937. The family moved to Sherman when Tom was in the 4th grade. While growing up in Sherman, he worked as a paperboy for the Sherman Democrat, mowed lawns with his push mower and did other odd jobs. His father taught him the importance of hard work, and Tom always followed that example. While in high school, he played football for the Bearcats, and he graduated from Sherman High School in 1955. He went on to the University of North Texas, formally known as North Texas State, where he graduated with a business degree in 1959. He married his beloved wife, Lynda Sue Millen at First Baptist Church of Sherman on July 1, 1961. They recently celebrated their 60th anniversary. When Tom was eight years old he was introduced to flying by a west Texas farmer who took him up for his first flight in his crop duster. He was hooked on flying from then on. During college, Tom went through the ROTC program and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant upon graduation. In October, 1959 he entered basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. He entered Pilot Training at Bartow Air Force Base in Florida, and Laredo Air Force Base in Laredo, Texas. He was assigned to fly B-47s and went to school at Little Rock Air Force Base. Then he went on to Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas for 2 years. Following that assignment, he went to Castle Air Force Base in California for training to fly the "Big Boy" - B52s. He was next stationed at Griffiss Air Force Base in New York for three years. After seven years in the military, Tom decided to leave the Air Force for commercial aviation and landed a job with Braniff International Airlines in Dallas. He flew for Braniff for sixteen years. When Braniff went out of business, Tom was blessed with a job with Piedmont Airlines in Charlotte, NC. Piedmont later merged with USAir, who later combined with American Airlines. Tom enjoyed a 35 year accident free aviation career and achieved the rank of captain in each of the positions he held. Tom also loved flying his own private aircraft: Taylor Craft, Cessna 172, and a Cherokee 6. Tom enjoyed every minute of his flying career. His last flight was in the Cherokee at age 80. It has been said that "pilots are a special breed of confidence, intelligence and driven perfection." This is Tom Ayers to a tee. In addition to his flying career, Tom also enjoyed working at various other jobs over the years. He started his own sprinkler system company, where he installed and maintained sprinkler systems. He worked as a private investigator, and he also had an aerial photography business. Volunteering was in Tom's blood. He volunteered in Sherman ISD, Grand Central Station, and flew his plane on medical missions to Houston to transport cancer patients for treatment. Tom was frugal, but generous to those he loved and others in need. In his retirement, Tom developed a love for tennis and played as often as he could. He also stayed active by going to the local gyms and walking his dog, Dollie. He and Lynda enjoyed many cruises and traveling to Hawaii during the winter. He was lovingly known as "Daddy Tom" to his five grandchildren, and a favorite pastime was attending their numerous sporting events and activities. Every morning he could be found listening to talk radio and solving the Dallas Morning News crossword puzzle. Tom and Lynda have been longtime members of First Baptist Church of Sherman where he served on various committees and was an active member of the Discovery Sunday School class. He is survived by his wife, Lynda, and daughters, Renea Sild and husband John of Sherman, and Suzanne Campbell and husband Jack of Celina, grandchildren Kathryn and Caroline Sild of Frisco, and Jacob, Jackson and Elizabeth Cantrell of Celina. He is also survived by sisters Dean Milam of Richardson and Jean Martz of Dallas, and several nieces and nephews. Tom was preceded in death by his parents. Viewing time will be at Waldo Funeral Home on Wednesday, September 15 from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Services for Tom will be at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 16, in the sanctuary at First Baptist Church Sherman. Dr. Mike Lawson will be officiating. Private burial will be at Cedarlawn Cemetery. Pallbearers are Jacob Cantrell, Jackson Cantrell, Joshua Campbell, Brad Milam, Shawn Eagleton and Tim O'Hearn. Honorary pallbearers are Jack Anderson, Jack Noble, Nick Porter, Robert Reid and Lee Salinas. The family wishes to thank Home Hospice of Grayson County for their tender care of Tom during his last days. Memorials can be made to Home Hospice of Grayson County, or to the dome restoration project of First Baptist Church Sherman. Arrangements are under the direction of Waldo Funeral Home. You may sign the online register book at waldofuneralhome.com

Posted online on September 13, 2021