Harvey Floyd Ayers, 88, passed peacefully on the afternoon of April 9th with his devoted wife, Nancy, by his side. He was born June 30, 1933, in St. Matthews, South Carolina to the late Frank and Annie Blanche Inabinet Ayers. Harvey, called “Floyd” by his immediate family, grew up on a farm with 2 sisters and 5 brothers.
Harvey is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Nancy Seymore Ayers; daughters, Susan Ayers of Greensboro, NC and Phyllis Ayers Peninger and husband Tim of Lawrenceville, GA.; grandchildren, Logan Grace Peninger and William Ayers Peninger; a special family friend, Susan Cox; and sisters-in-law, Ethel Ayers and Mary Anne Ayers. In addition to his parents, Harvey is preceded in death by his brothers: Thomas, William, Raymond, David and Ralph Ayers, and sisters: Lucille McIver and Ruth Bozard.
After graduating high school, Harvey joined the Navy and served for 5 years primarily on the USS Russell County (LST-1090) which transported both American personnel, and Korean and Chinese prisoners of war during the Korean War. It was during his Navy service that a close friend, Don Geer, introduced him to the love of his life, Nancy Lee Seymore. It was love at first sight and after an 18-month long distance courtship, they were married.
To stay close to his beautiful bride and to focus on starting a family, Harvey shifted his career from the Navy to the Air Force in April 1958. Over a span of 16 years, he served in numerous Air Force capacities: Air Training Command-ATC (Moody AFB, Georgia); 6901 Special Communications Group (Zwiebrucken AB, Germany); Air Force Cryptologic Depot (San Antonio AFB, Texas); Special Security Office/Strategic Air Command (SAC) and 3rd Air Division (SAC) (Bien Hoa, Vietnam); Special Security Office-SAC (Offutt AFB, Omaha, Nebraska); Special Security Office/SAC-Det 1 98 Strategic Wing (Upper Heyford/Mildenhall AFBs, England); and 3428th Technical Training Squadron-ATC (Offutt AFB, Omaha, Nebraska). Following Harvey’s retirement from the Air Force in 1974, he joined Duke University as an electrician and retired with 18 years of service.
Harvey had a very kind spirit, gentle soul, and quick wit. He had a tremendous sweet tooth and a love for anything chocolate. He babied his 1989 Ford XLT Ranger, and when he was no longer able to drive, he would sit in his truck like he was spending quiet time with an old friend. He enjoyed working in the yard, daily walks around the neighborhood, listening to gospel music, and passing the day bird watching in their sunroom. He was a doting husband of 65 years as well as a loving father, father-in-law, and grandfather. He was thrilled when his grandchildren were born and did not hesitate to spoil them every chance he could.
His love language was service to others. He was very proud to serve God and country and never hesitated to help those in need. He was a member of Ridgecrest Baptist Church for many years and a member of Ed Shoe’s Sunday School class. He participated in countless church activities and particularly enjoyed deep sea fishing excursions, decorating the sanctuary Christmas trees and assisting with church Christmas toy drives and vacation bible schools.
Harvey had a huge, benevolent heart. From visiting and providing meals to sick friends, providing doctor appointment transportation, performing home repairs and odd jobs for the elderly to giving financial assistance to low income individuals, he was compelled to help those in need. Whether he provided means for a mother to purchase a special red coat for her daughter to making sure an elderly wheelchair-bound veteran on Hillandale Road had a weekly hot chicken dinner, he never faltered to make someone’s life brighter. That was the type of person he was by performing silent service in the glory of God’s name.
We celebrate a beautiful and well-lived life full of love, laughter, and kindness. We will miss him terribly but know he is healed in heaven and celebrating with family and friends. In the spirit of service to others, please perform an act of kindness in his memory, and if the opportunity arises, eat a Hershey’s kiss or a Little Debbie Swiss Roll because both were his favorites.
The family would also like to acknowledge and thank the following caregivers for their loving and devoted care during Harvey’s illness: Aqcawanna Van Hook, Lisa Autrey, Teresa Autrey, Linda Stephens, Charlene Brown and Kesha Woodberry.
In addition, the family would like to thank the Duke Regional 4th Floor Staff and the staff at the Hock Family Pavilion for their kindness, compassion and care.
A visitation will be held Wednesday April 13, 2022, from 10:00 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Ridgecrest Baptist Church, 1104 Milton Road, followed by a funeral service at 11:00 a.m. at the church. Entombment with military honors will follow at Woodlawn Memorial Park Chapel of Hope. Reverend Marc Francis will officiate.
Pallbearers will be Johnny Tillman, Randy Stabler, Randy Roberts, Brad Seymore, Greg Murray and Donnie Seymore.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Ridgecrest Baptist Church Building Fund, 1104 Milton Road, Durham, NC 27712 or Duke Dementia Family Support Program.