Henry Malcolm Ayers, age 83, died peacefully at his home surrounded by his son, daughter-in-law, daughter and HPH Hospice of Citrus County in Beverly Hills, Florida on August 20, 2020.
Henry is survived his daughter, Linda Lee Jones (Clinton) in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida; son Henry Randolph (Randy) Ayers (Deborah) in Dunellon, Florida; and his grandson, Randall Ayers. He is preceded in death by his wife, Sandra Lee Ayers.
Henry was born on September 19, 1936 in Cornelia, Georgia to H.J. Ayers and Katherine J. Ayers. He graduated from Habersham Central High School in 1955 where he lettered in many sports. His love of sports continued, with him going on to be one of Coach Bobby Bowden’s players in Bowden’s first head coaching job, at South Georgia College in Douglas, Georgia in 1955. Henry continued to play football during his time there. It is a testament to the commitment and dedication of Henry and his teammates that each June there is a reunion of the former players and “Coach” from that pivotal year.
After college he worked as a trainer and boat captain at the Tommy Bartlett ski school and show in the Wisconsin Dells, pulling global trick skiers and top water skiing athletes in competitions. It was while there he met Sandra, who he eventually married.
The character and values he learned through athletics became a passion to pass on those values to little leagues, division players and young athletes all over the state of Florida. This continued passion led to a career in selling and producing sporting goods, team uniforms, team awards and trophies. He would often be found at youth league signs up, as excited as the young players that he was helping to pick out uniforms and gear. With everyone excitedly looking forward to the sport of that season. The 40-year legacy of his trophy company will now be carried on by his son. His free time was often spent fishing in Marlin tournaments and later in life challenging his children to the card game Canasta. Competitive by nature he would claim bragging rights by hanging his winning Canasta scores on the refrigerator.
Henry was cremated and according to his last wishes his ashes will be spread over the graves of his parents in Demorest, Georgia.
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