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Born: Mar 09, 1931

Date of Passing: Dec 23, 2017

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JEAN ELIZABETH AYRE March 9, 1931 - December 23, 2017 My loves, my earthly journey is over, and what an 86 year adventure it was! I was born in Pittsburgh, PA, USA in 1931 and in my wildest dreams could not have predicted how wonderful my life would be. My mother and father, Bessie and James Brice, are now deceased; also all of my siblings, James, Wilburt, Isabel and Lily Mae Brice with whom I spent my youth and young adult years in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My dearest daughter, Monica, died in 1974 as a result of an accident. Although gone before me, these departed family members have always been with me in my heart and spirit. My incredibly loving husband Don and I enjoyed over 50 years of marriage that was defined by unconditional commitment, respect and love for each other. Can you believe it? We met on the elevator of the building where we both worked. I was in the steno pool of Family and Children's Services of Pittsburgh and Don was working there as Director of Research while also taking his Doctorate degree at the University of Pittsburgh. Interracial marriages were illegal in 17 states and were not popular in Pennsylvania at the time, so Don returned to Winnipeg to teach at the University of Manitoba. From the time we were married in Winnipeg in 1966, our inseparable love for each other moved us forward to enjoy so many exciting times together. Our love transcends space and time today and forever. Our two sons, Ramon (Connie), Anthony (Lori-Jean) have made us as proud as any parents could be. And what can I say about our grandchildren, Monica, Morgan, Ashelyn, Aimee, Jessica and Greg Baker! Being grandparents to you all has been one of our greatest joys. The sporting events, plays, concerts, graduations, birthdays and just hanging out brought me so much joy! I have six great-grandchildren, Fintan, Callia, Zoya, Everlee Joy, Emily and Anna; and four Godchildren, Karin and Jeff Hammerback, Shannon and Courtney Burns and great-Goddaughter Sadie Lee. What a wonderful blessing! In my working career, I enjoyed my work at the Manitoba Youth Centre, Manitoba Probation services and as President of the Manitoba Child and Family Services Board. Volunteering, especially as President of the Resident's Council at Portsmouth Retirement Community where we moved after 46 years at 814 Somerset Avenue, Fort Gary, gave me great satisfaction. To my wonderful friends, please know that you have enriched my life beyond measure. Each one of you brought love, laughter, meaning, and joy to the many conversations and times that we spent together. True friendships transcend the petty stuff and thrive on the important things such as love, trust, honesty, integrity and commitment. Special thanks to lifetime friends and soulmates, Jan Burns and Terry Hammerback, who went above and beyond to provide great support and comfort to me and Don. My family and I would like to sincerely thank Dr. Adi Sharma, Dr. Nithya Venkatesan, the staff of Victoria General Hospital, the Palliative Care Team coordinated by Mary Ascot and the Medical Assistance in Dying Team headed by Dr. Kim Wiebe for making my final days as comfortable as possible and my dying dignified. There will be a celebration of life on January 18, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg, 603 Wellington Crescent, where we have been members for over 15 years. In lieu of flowers, please support the charity of your choice. And please, please, open your hearts to making the celebration of my life a time to reflect on the joy that we have shared together. One of my favourite songs is "Smile" by Steven Tyler. Play it, think of me and smile. Love you forever, Jean NEIL BARDALFUNERAL CENTRE 204-949-2200
Publish Date: Jan 6, 2018

JEAN ELIZABETH AYRE 1931 - 2017 Jean Elizabeth Ayre, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, died peacefully and with dignity at home surrounded by loving family and friends on December 23, 2017, at the age of 86. Jean is survived by her devoted and loving husband of 51 years, Donald Ayre; her two sons, Anthony and Ramon Ayre, and their families. A Celebration of Life is scheduled for January 18, 2018, 2:00 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 603 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg, Manitoba. A more detailed obituary will follow. NEIL BARDAL FUNERAL CENTRE 204-949-2200

Publish Date: Dec 30, 2017

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Jan 06, 2018

Condolences & Memories (23 entries)

  • I am so very sorry to hear that Jean has left us. I worked with Jean at MYC, so very long ago, it seems. I admired, liked and respected her very much. A remarkable woman, an inspiration and a joy. - Posted by: Peggy Holmes () on: Jan 29, 2018

  • Anthony (Tony) and family, my sincere condolences. Just today I was doing a clean-up of my momentos and came across a card Jean had given to me as I headed off to begin my new chapter in the military some 28 years ago. Her words dated Oct 19th, 1990 were " Chris, Continue to believe in yourself; Follow your dream; Respect as well as love your soul mate; Most of all remember that you are a great person. Best of luck wherever you go. Love Jean Ayre. P.S. Mistakes are due to becoming emotional." Thank you Jean. I would like to think that I have honored your words and that they have made me a better man. Thank you for your patience and mentoring when I was a young Youth Volunteer Probation Officer in St James. My dad thought highly of you while working together at the Manitoba Youth Centre. RIP kind lady. - Posted by: Chris Brace (Friend) on: Jan 29, 2018

  • So very sorry for the loss of Jean. She was a force to be reckoned with. Writing of her own life one can almost hear Jean speaking; what a magnificent life she lived. It was an honour and privilege to have known her. Deepest sympathies to the family especially Tony, Lori Jean and family. - Posted by: Clyde and Lesley Finlay () on: Jan 26, 2018

  • We are so sorry for you loss, our thoughts and hearts are with you and your family. - Posted by: Chris and Tim Deckert (Friends of Anthony) on: Jan 22, 2018

  • What a tremendous loss. Although she has left the physical world, heaven has gained a one of a kind angel. Iam so honored to have this loving, caring, stubborn, beautiful, strong woman a part of my life. Although Jean came late into my life at The Ports, she quickly became one of my most beloved best friends. She is a class act who loved you unconditionally with style and grace. Her beauty and love will live on through her husband and family. My heart goes out to you Don. Tony, Romone and family. I will miss her phone calls and our visits with a glass of wine. I can only hope to become a woman of your strength and integrity one day. I will miss you Jean. Always. See you on the other side Jean. - Posted by: Maureen Smith (Friend) on: Jan 18, 2018

  • My mom, Glenna Miller, met Jean and Don at the Portsmouth and they quickly became friends. She so enjoyed spending time with them at choir, dinner, crafts...whatever was going on. Jean and our daughter shared a love of music and Jean was always in the front row when Alenna sang. Mom always said that Jean was a real lady! Their love was evident to everyone who met them and the strength of their relationship a joy to see. Our deepest condolences to Don and his family. Lori Miller, Ron Mark, Alenna and Grant - Posted by: Lori Miller (Friend) on: Jan 18, 2018

  • My sincere condolences on the passing of the Ayre's family martriarch. Jean lived and loved life on her own terms, and definitely always with style. - Posted by: JoAnn Wilson () on: Jan 18, 2018

  • Jean, what an inspiration you have been to so many. I was the intern of the First UU Church of Winnipeg back in the 1990s and I remember fondly your refreshing directness, your great sense of humour and your deep care. Ah and the way you could chastise with a wink and a smile ;-) I remember you very fondly and love the way you came alive in my memory when I read your first person obituary--so very YOU! Sending you love Don and to all who grieve Jean's death and celebrate her amazing, spirited life. - Posted by: Wendy Luella Perkins (friend (Kingston Ontario)) on: Jan 16, 2018

  • Dear Don, Ramon and Tony, It was such an honour to know Jean during the many years that we worked together at the Youth Centre. She was a true role model for MYC staff and deeply cared about all the kids in her care. You always knew where you stood with Jean-she wore her heart on her sleeve and had no problems sharing her thoughts with you. She had a spunky sense of humour and never hesitated to tell you just how she felt. Jean's love for Don and for her boys and then her grandchildren and great grandchildren was to be admired. You were the love of her life and we send you our deepest sympathy. We will always have fond memories of this very special lady. Yvonne and Butch - Posted by: Butch and Yvonne Bérubé (friends and colleagues) on: Jan 08, 2018

  • Jean, if you’re listening, good on ya, for living a life well lived... perhaps not always an easy one, but a good life, as a decent human being. You came to our Unitarian Universalist congregation, introduced by your in-laws, and chose to make it your spiritual home. I, for one, was glad to have you amongst us. Along with Don, your loving husband, you took the reins as co-BUPA’s (Building Use Policy Administrators) in our new building, and together contributed to and enjoyed your time in our Church Choir, as well as supporting our congregation over the years. As mutual non-lovers of meditation time during a Sunday Service, you and I exchanged so many knowing glances, while attempting to maintain composure and suppress the odd giggle as we practiced being respectful to those who so cherished that quiet time. I will remember you with great fondness, Jean. I send hope to Don, your kids and their families to continue the good life you gave them. They will miss you like crazy, remember you always, and hopefully won’t weep forever - but remember you through their smiles! - Posted by: Linda Henderson (church friend) on: Jan 06, 2018

  • Joan and I send our condolences to Don and family. We shared many laughs and a few tears with Jean. Her obituary was so Jean. We have nothing but fond memories of this remarkable woman. Joe Connor and Joan Turner in Ottawa. - Posted by: Joe Connor (Friend) on: Jan 06, 2018

  • The story of Jean brought me to tears. What a supreme human being! I can still love her even though we haven't met each other. Anyone who has had the pleasure to be in Jean's company will miss her terribly. I thank Jean for sharing her profound and personal feelings on cherishing her life. An example of genuine gratefulness. I miss you two as well, Tony and LJ. It has been a long time, but you are in my thoughts. My condolences to you and your family. HUGS FROM JILL. - Posted by: Jill Palmer nee McWhinney (Friends of Tony and Lori-Jean) on: Jan 06, 2018

  • I miss you GG and I hope you are feeling better now. I love you so much!!! Sadie Jean Lee - Posted by: Sadie Lee (Great Goddaughter) on: Jan 06, 2018

  • We would like to send our sincerest condolences to Don, Tony, Ramon and families in the passing of Jean. We will always remember her compassion and caring for the youth in her care at MYC along with her charm, wisdom and sharp sense of humour. She was always admired and respected by her colleagues throughout the Department of Justice and will be surely missed by many friends along with her family. She will Rest In Peace knowing she has left a great legacy in her family. Jim and Marilyn - Posted by: Jim and Marilyn Ross (Colleague and friend) on: Jan 05, 2018

  • Dear Don, Tony and Ramon, we were honoured to know Jean through the Youth Center and our friendship over the years. Jean’s strengths will continue to live on through her wonderful family and in the lives of so many young people she helped at the Youth Center. When you hear the term “tough love” Jean immediately comes to mind. She was blunt with her expectations of the youth and always found a way for their success. They all admired her and many succeeded in life because of her stewardship. You always knew where you stood with Jean. If she agreed with you she said so with a smile, if she didn’t she would say “if you say so” coupled with her unique “look”. After that a quick retreat was the necessary next move. We admired and loved Jean. We will miss her. Our thought are with you at this difficult time. - Posted by: Gary Doer and Ginny Devine (Friends) on: Jan 05, 2018

  • I was blessed to spend a lot of time with Jean and Don as they were building co-coordinators while I was a Lay Chaplain at the Unitarian church. We did several services over the years, memorials, weddings and child dedication. I also remember the powerful intensity with which she led her life. I joked with her, calling her Kali a Hindu Goddess, who sometimes is remembered incorrectly. She is considered a strong mother-figure and symbolic of motherly-love. Kali also embodies shakti - feminine energy, creativity and fertility. Regardless it was a term of endearment and love. She also had a look. When I would share a bad dad joke or say something untoward, she dropped her chin and lifted her eyebrows and you knew Jean had corrected you. Enough said! She was such a loving strong female figure in my life. I will miss her deeply! Blessings Don! - Posted by: Clark Kenyon (A dear friend through the Unitarian Church) on: Jan 03, 2018

  • So sorry to hear about Jean - fondly remember the years at the Youth Center and many great social times . Our thoughts are with you and the boys. I can't attend the service as I am out of town for court but Debby's and my thoughts will be with you. - Posted by: Bill Armstrong and Debby Jablonski (Friends) on: Jan 01, 2018

  • Tony on behalf of the Léveillé family please accept our condolences for the loss of your mother. My father Pierre was quite fond of her. Take care of you and the family. Love Lise - Posted by: Lise Léveillé (Friend) on: Dec 30, 2017

  • I will always remember her for her honesty, integrity and wry sense of humor. No pretense. A strong will and kindly soul. - Posted by: Imre Naphegyi (Friend) on: Dec 30, 2017

  • Met Jean at the Vaughn St. detention centre and worked for years with her at the Manitoba Youth Center. What a wonderful person. We know she will be missed by her husband Don and Ramon and Tony and families. She had a wonderful sense of humour and a vibrant personality. We shared many laughs together and she always lit up a room when she entered. Heaven will be lucky to have her....and when ever we see a very bright star we will think of Jean. - Posted by: Grant and Maria (friends) on: Dec 30, 2017

  • Good memories and a genuine character! Sorry for your loss. - Posted by: Jacquie and John McGurran (Friends) on: Dec 30, 2017

  • Jean Ayre brought joy to any room, building and the world. Her comments were always brilliant and unpredictable. I wish to express sincere condolences to her family and friends. - Posted by: Bill Stevens (Colleague and friend) on: Dec 30, 2017

  • Please accept our sincere condolences.. Not easy at any time of year... But around Christmas time seems worse . Any way our prayers and thoughts are with you and yours. - Posted by: Andy/Olive (friends) on: Dec 30, 2017

Neil Bardal Inc. (Winnipeg)

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