Janice Gray Ayer

10 entries
  • "To, Everett, Lorna & Family: My thoughts & prayers are with..."
    - Carol Welch-Croome
  • "Everett, Betty and I extend our deepest sympathy. I did..."
    - Bob Westgate
  • "Everett, We are so sorry for your loss. I know the thoughts..."
    - David Fields
  • "Although you don't know me, my mother was also at Lakewood..."
    - GISELE
  • "My deepest condolences, Everett. Jan was a beautiful soul...."
    - Mercedes
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Service Information
Staples Funeral Service
53 Brunswick Avenue
Gardiner, ME

GARDINER - Janice Gray Ayer gently passed away on Dec. 28, 2018, at Lakewood Continuing Care Center in Waterville, Maine, with her loving and devoted husband of 65 years, Everett, and her family by her side. She was born on Sept. 18, 1935, in Bangor, Maine, the oldest daughter of Kenneth E. Gray and Margaret (Melia) Gray.

Janice grew up in The Forks, Maine, where her mother taught school in a one room school house and her father was a game warden. As a child, she enjoyed riding her horse, Pal, and drawing pictures for her sister, Lorna, in exchange for "Sissie's Special Treats" consisting of peanut butter, marshmallows and crackers. Even as a young child, Janice was a voracious reader. She would always curl up in the family's overstuffed chair reading for hours until her mother chided her for sitting on her legs too long. Her family moved to Gardiner when Janice was a junior in high school. It was there, at Gardiner Area High School, that Janice met the love of her life, Everett Ayer. Their first date was a movie at Johnson Hall. Everett likes to tell the story about asking Janice if she would like something to eat after the movie and his great relief when she said, "no" since he didn't have a penny in his pocket!

Janice and Everett graduated from GAHS in 1953 and were married on July 14 of that year. Shortly thereafter, they moved to Natick, Mass., where Everett enrolled in an automotive trade school and his father got him a job at Commonwealth Chevrolet in Boston, Mass. Missing Maine and family, they didn't stay in Massachusetts long. After the birth of their first son, Raymond, and Everett's completion of his schooling, they returned to Gardiner. Everett started his own business, Ayer's Auto Body, which later became Ayer European Auto. Janice handled the "paper work" (as they called it) of the business while also staying home to care for their three young children - Raymond, Katharine and Tommy. Sadly, Tommy passed away shortly after his seventh birthday of a type of childhood leukemia.

Janice was never one to stay idle. On top of trying to raise two preteens and helping Everett with his business, she decided to go back to school, earning her BA and MA in Special Education at UMO. She was quite the co-ed, commuting daily to Orono in her bright red Porsche 356! After obtaining her master's degree she was employed by the Oakland School District as their Director of Special Education for many years.

Janice had a myriad of interests, but exercise wasn't one of them. She loved to tell how she and her sister, Lorna, would "work out" at Curves to justify going next door to Dunkin' Donuts for a cup of coffee and a shared donut hole! She, Everett, Raymond and Katharine enjoyed many years of skiing, sailing, camping and innumerable road trips to World Fairs, Canada, and Boston for church, picnics on the Charles and visits to museums.

Janice and Everett embarked on many other travels together including trips to Alaska, Mexico, Europe, Fiji and New Zealand. One adventure to Europe included picking up a new VW Westfalia camper in Germany and driving it around Europe for an extended period of time before having it shipped to its new home in Maine. Along with reading, Janice also loved sewing, golfing and had a passion for gardening. She volunteered many hours helping to plan and care for the gardens at the Gardiner Public Library. Her own expansive gardens at home were a special sight to see - truly works of art.

More than anything, Janice loved spending time with her two beautiful granddaughters, Marissa and Devon. Nothing, except Everett, brought more joy to her life. They would spend hours exploring the woods and fields around the house, playing school in the cupola of the barn and dolls in the playhouse built for them in the backyard on the fringe of the gardens. She also taught them to sew and play golf - although that ended badly with Marissa giving Gram a few stitches in her forehead from a wild golf swing!

Janice was predeceased by her youngest son, Thomas; her mother, Margaret; her father, Kenneth; her stepmother, Flora; and her son-in-law, Seth Welling.

She is survived by her loving husband of 65 years, Everett of Gardiner, Maine; her son, Raymond and his wife, Vicky, of Monmouth, Maine; daughter, Katharine Ayer of Fayette, Maine; granddaughters, Marissa Ayer of Fairfield, Maine, and Devon Ayer of Concord, N.H.; sister, Lorna Veilleux and her husband, Lawrence of Gardiner, Maine; half brother, John Gray and his wife, Penny, of Raleigh, N.C.; four nephews and two nieces.

Words cannot begin to express the gratitude and appreciation Janice's family feels for the amazing love, care and kindness she was given by everyone at Lakewood Continuing Care Center in Waterville, Maine. They all embraced, not only her as a member of their special family, but also Janice's family members as well - especially Everett who was there every day - all day. They have given the family incredible support and understanding through Janice's passage.

Additionally, many thanks go to the wonderful hospice caregivers from Beacon Hospice, who have helped make Janice comfortable and given Everett and her family added support during her final days.

Prior to Lakewood, Janice resided at the Alzheimer's Care Center in Gardiner. Her family would also like to thank everyone at the Center for the wonderful care and love she received while a resident there and for the guidance they gave in helping to determine the best facility for Janice's next stage in her journey.

Visiting hours will be Thursday, Jan. 3, 2018, 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m., at Staples Funeral Home, 53 Brunswick Avenue, Gardiner, Maine. A service celebrating Janice's life will be scheduled in the Spring prior to burial in the family site at Oak Grove Cemetery.

To offer condolences and/or share memories with Janice's family, please go to the obituary section at www.staplesfuneralhome.com

In lieu of flowers, donations in Janice's name,

may be made to

Alzheimer's Research Foundation

3152 Little Road, Suite 146

Trinity, FL 34655

Published in Central Maine on Dec. 31, 2018
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