Capt. William M. Ayers, a retired shipping executive, died January 25, 2022 in Seguin, Texas at age 101 just 17 days before his 102nd birthday.
A native of Texas, Ayers was born February 11, 1920. He attended Seguin High School, Texas Lutheran University, Texas A&M, and the United States Merchant Marine Academy. He joined the U.S. Merchant Marine after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor propelled the United States into World War II and served from 1941-1945. Capt. Ayers was on the second ship of the first convoy to liberate Manila, Philippines.
After the war, he worked in New Orleans, LA at States Marine Lines and West Coast Line before founding his business, Ayers Steamship Company in New Orleans, LA in 1960 with offices in Houston, Galveston, and Dallas, TX. He was very active in the international shipping, maritime, and traffic & transportation community and was chosen in 1991 as “Maritime Man of the Year”.
Capt. Ayers was a member of the diplomatic corps and served as Honorary Consul General for the countries of Bolivia, Senegal, and the Philippines.
He was a member of Carrollton United Methodist Church - New Orleans and in Seguin - First United Methodist Church, which is erected on land given by his Blumberg family. He was proud to say that his mother was organist at the First United Methodist Church for many decades.
In 2004, Capt. Ayers returned to his final port of call Seguin, TX, where he and his wife enjoyed spending retirement in the hometown he loved at the historic Blumberg home built by his grandfather in 1906.
Capt. Ayers was active in retirement with the Seguin High School Alumni Assn., and in time he would later say “the last man standing” of the Seguin High School Class of '37. He was a member of the Blumberg-Elley-Kaiser-Koepsel Reunion Committee, and was part of cemetery restoration committees including Blumberg Cemetery.
He was happy to have been honored on the occasion of his 100th birthday on Feb. 11, 2020, with a proclamation presented by Seguin Mayor Don Keil at City Hall; where Capt. Ayers rang in celebration, the Juan N. Seguin bell. The historic brass bell and builders’ plaque which sit within Seguin City Hall were acquired by Ayers from the SS Juan N. Seguin, a cargo ship which saw action during WW II.
Capt. Ayers was preceded in death by his mother, Bertha Blumberg Ayers and father, Ed L. Ayers. His wife Wilmuth “Billye” Ayers preceded him in death on Nov. 21, 2021. He is survived by his daughters, Deborah Ayers Adams (Walter), Cynthia Ayers Kelly (Steve), and stepson James F. Rivera, also grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Funeral service at Goetz Funeral Home with words of grace and remembrance by Rev. Cathe Evins, and burial at Riverside Cemetery in Seguin, TX were private due to Covid restrictions. Memorial contributions to the charity of your choice or Blumberg Cemetery Fund - 5611 Huber Road - Seguin, TX 78155 are preferred.
Services are under the direction of Goetz Funeral Home, 713 North Austin Street, Seguin, Texas 78155.
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