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Ayer, Rev. Robert Burns – Son of Margery Edith Burns (a school teacher and later newspaper editorialist) and Frank Leo Ayer (a farmer), he was born in Lyons, Nebraska on March 27, 1932. He had a sister, Rose (deceased), married with four children. Growing up on a farm he participated in 4-H and loved animal husbandry. He excelled at school, which developed into a love of learning continuing throughout his life. He died in South Bend on Saturday, May 5, 2018 at the age of 86.
Bob, to friends and family, with his wife, Iris, were residents at St. Paul’s Retirement Community for almost two years. Prior to that they lived at the family home in South Bend where they raised their four children; Diane Davis (Kerry), Debra Ayer, David Ayer (Tannia), and Delores “Dee” Johnson (Jay). Bob is survived by his wife, all four children and eight grandchildren; Jeff Bradberry (Christina), Kristina Wood (Chris), Holly Ayer, Brandon Ayer, Delilah Harris, Jaime Harris, Alexandra Johnson, Zachary Johnson and a great-granddaughter, Alaina.
Bob met his lifelong love and wife, Iris, at North Central College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They completed their studies in Theology and became ordained ministers. Their first 20 years of marriage they started their family and were pastors for the Assembly of God church throughout Iowa. They relocated with their four children to South Bend in 1969 to be near Iris’ family. He worked at Gilbert’s for 20 years, until it closed, then accepted a position at Rotech Plastics, until he semi-retired to work part-time for the Main Branch of the St. Joseph County Public Library. He was known at the library for his work in the Microfilm Department, where he worked patiently with the machines (earning the title of microfilm guru), helping patrons do research on newspaper articles and genealogy. He retired after 20 years of service, having made many friends and acquaintances.
An avid gardener, Bob enjoyed being a member of a local garden club. He was also a former President and member of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), which required tracing his own genealogy back to that period in history. Additionally, Bob bred and raised AKC German Shepherds and Rat Terriers. He was an active member of the American Kennel Club for many years. Bob was a Sunday School teacher and very active in his church, Christian Center on Ireland Road, until health issues prevented, although he continued to be a person of faith who believed whole-heartedly and did his best to live as an example of kindness, caring, and compassion for others.
Bob’s great loves were his wife, children, grandchildren, dogs, flowers, books and working the Tribune’s Daily Word Jumble puzzle. His type of love and loyalty is rare and will be sorely missed. He was held dear and much loved by his family.
Visitation and Memorial Service will be this Wednesday evening from 4pm-6pm at Palmer Funeral Home, Guisinger Chapel, 3718 S. Michigan St., South Bend. A private graveside funeral service for family will be this Thursday @1pm at Southlawn Cemetery.