A memorial service was held April 3 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church for Chuck Ayars, who served as trustee at The Bishop’s School from 1965 to 1968. He was 84 when he passed away due to complications from a fall on March 30.
Ayars, a longtime Solana Beach resident, was extremely involved in the San Diego community, having served on the boards of St. Paul’s Retirement Home, The Bishop’s School, the North County YMCA, the Del Mar Chamber of Commerce, Episcopal Community Services and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. In several cases, he was a founding or charter member of these organizations.
“He loved helping people, from babies and children to seniors, his whole career,” said his daughter Deborah De Angelis.
However, Ayars is probably best known for his passion and commitment to Rotary. Having belonged for more than 50 years, Ayars served as the president of three Rotary clubs.
Charles Orvil Ayars was born in San Diego Oct. 27, 1924. His parents were aviation pioneers who helped build the Spirit of St. Louis, the single-engine plane Charles Lindberg flew solo from New York to Paris.
In fact, “Charles Lindberg baby-sat for my dad when his mom was sewing wheel covers for the Spirit of St, Louis,” De Angelis said.
After he graduated from Hoover High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from University of California, Los Angeles, Ayars served as a Navy pilot during World War II.
Ayars worked for San Diego 1st National Bank, running the Del Mar branch when it was the only bank in town.
But as a Navy reservist, he was recalled to active duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis. This evolved into a second civilian career managing the Air Force’s mineral and oil rights, working in the Pentagon, Andrews Air Force Base and Panama City, Fla., for 14 years. He retired from the reserves after 33 years with the rank of captain.
He married his childhood sweetheart and wife Janet Clithero Ayars. They had three children, Deborah, Charles Jr. and Tom.
In 2002, after 55 years of marriage, Janet passed away. Through the bereavement process, Ayars reconnected with family friend and fellow widow Eileen Innis. At 80 and 75, respectively, they were married.
The three Ayars children and their families blended with Eileen’s three sons, Jack, Steve and Doug, and their families. Ayars had 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Donations may be sent to Rotary International Foundation Polio Plus c/o Rotary Club of Del Mar, P.O. Box 552, Del Mar, CA 92014; St. Peter’s Church, 334 14th St., Del Mar, CA 92014; or St. Paul’s Retirement Home Foundation, 238 Maple St., San Diego, CA 92103.