Charles Philip Ayres was called to his heavenly home by God on August 2, 2023. He was ninety-three years old.
He was born April 19, 1930, in El Dorado, Butler County, Kansas. An only child, he was born to Weston Philip Ayres and Doris Amelia Robinson. He told tales of his early childhood on his grandparents’ farm, of traveling west by car to California and playing in the school band. In 1950, Phil entered service in The U.S. Navy as an electrician’s mate. He served four plus years, and he was assigned to the aircraft carrier, USS Leyte (CV 32.) He traveled The Mediterranean Sea and The Pacific Ocean.
After leaving The Navy, he met the love of his life, Frederica (Freddie) Vaught, on a blind date set up by her best friend, Trudy. Phil and Freddie married July 15, 1956. They lived in the Kansas City, Kansas area while Phil worked an as accountant at The Hereford Association. There, two sons were born: Mike, in Sugar Creek, Missouri, on July 11, 1957, and Darren in Kansas City, Kansas, on February 25, 1959. In July 1970, the family moved to Mena, Arkansas, Freddie’s childhood hometown. They raised chickens on a 50-acre farm, and they, at one time, had a tomato farm. Phil worked various off-the-farm jobs, including as a music minister at a couple of churches in Polk County as well as playing music for revivals. His last job was as an upholsterer for private jets at Rose Upholstery in Mena. He was a member of The Master Singers of Arkansas.
In 2002, Phil and Freddie moved to Arkadelphia to be closer to their oldest son, Mike. Phil became the custodian for First Baptist Church, Arkadelphia. After retiring from that position, he began volunteering several days a week at the church office answering phones and greeting visitors. When he finally retired for good, he enjoyed reading and watching his favorite tv shows and taking naps. He also enjoyed singing in the church choir.
As time marched on, so did his health. Slowly by slowly, one issue after another popped up and each time it brought him down a notch or two.
In 2006, Phil and Freddie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in The Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church, Arkadelphia, surrounded by many family members and friends.
On August 8, 2013, Phil’s beloved wife, Freddie, was called to her heavenly home. Over the years since, while stoic, he would tell how much he missed her.
Today, while we miss him and are saddened that he is no longer here with us, we rejoice and celebrate his homegoing where he is walking with Jesus, his Savior. He is in a new body, one that works and will never break down. He can hug his precious Freddie again.
Phil is preceded in death by his parents, Weston Philip and Doris Amelia Robinson Ayres Weber Sanborn; his aunts and uncles and the love of his life, Freddie.He is survived by his two sons: Michael (Lisa Love) Wayne and Darren (Patricia Mary) Lee. He had four grandchildren: Jeremy (Jennifer Marie Spera) Ryan of Tampa, Florida, Audra (Jonathan) Love of Bismarck, Arkansas, Christopher Michael (Michelle Alicia Sarah Michelle) Wilkins of Round Rock, Texas and Jacob Weston of Tampa, Florida.
He has eight great grandchildren: Lilly Elizabeth Jamie, Avery Mae Jeanne, Sophia Hartley, Stella Jude, Weston Robert Daniel, Penny Anne Marie, Lucas Ryan and Price Anderson Michael.
Phil will be cremated and his ashes will be buried next to Freddie in The Nunley Cemetery in Nunley, Arkansas.
A visitation will be held at 9:00 a.m. Friday, August 4, 2023, at First Baptist Church of Arkadelphia with a memorial service to follow at 10:00 a.m. at the church. Military honors will be provided by The United States Navy.
Arrangements are entrusted to Ruggles Wilcox Funeral Home, 517 Clay Street, Arkadelphia, Arkansas 71923.