Donald "Leroy" Ayers passed away on August 6, 2023, at the age of 95 in Hobbs, New Mexico.
Leroy was born March 11, 1928, in Hollis, OK to Tom and Rosa Crow Ayers. He and his brother, Troy, were raised on the family homestead. Leroy enlisted in the military in his early 20s and served as a paratrooper in World War II and later fought in the Korean War. Afterwards, he was a member of the National Guard.
Leroy married Shirley Louise Baird of Dodson, TX on August 5, 1950. They were married in Childress, TX and later moved to Midland, TX, then on to Andrews, TX. They eventually settled in Hobbs, NM in 1958. Leroy and Shirley had four children; Tommy Leroy, Johnny Lynn, Donna Louise (deceased), and Jeanette Lisa. Leroy and Shirley opened the Village Meat Market on Jefferson Street, which later moved to Sanger Street, in the late 1950s. They operated the Village Meat Market until the early 1980s. After closing the meat market, he opened Leroy's Pro Sharp, a mobile shop where he sold and sharpened knives. Leroy drove to restaurants and businesses throughout Lea County and west Texas selling knives for over 20 years. He became well known across the region, where he earned the nickname "The Knife Man." After selling the Pro Sharp, Leroy continued to sharpen knives at local restaurants until he officially retired at the age of 91.
In addition to being a businessman, Leroy was a strong man of God who loved sharing his faith with others. He and Shirley attended the First Church of the Nazarene for 50 years. During this time, Leroy was also the pastor of a Nazarene church in Roswell for a few years. After his wife, Shirley, passed away, Leroy began attending Church At Hobbs where his son, John, is the pastor. Leroy enjoyed visiting patients in the hospital and praying with them. He led many people to the Lord over the years. Leroy was also a Gideon for over 60 years. He always had a stack of Gideon Bibles ready to hand out to anyone who wanted one.
Leroy began writing poetry around 1990. He wrote his first poem in honor of his mother for her 90th birthday. He continued writing poetry for many years, and often used the Bible and his family as his inspiration. He published four books of poetry.
Leroy is survived by his three children: Tommy Ayers (wife, Debbie) and John Ayers (wife, Dolores), both of Hobbs, NM; and Jeannie McAndrew (husband, Mike) of Midland, TX. He is also survived by his seven grandchildren: Phillip Ayers of Ft. Smith, AK; Kristi Collins (husband, Eddie) and Kaci Ayers, both of Albuquerque, NM; Ethan Ayers and Zane Ayers, both of Hobbs, NM; Jay McAndrew of Lubbock, TX; and Jaxon McAndrew of Midland, TX; and two great-grandchildren, McKenna Collins and Presley Collins of Albuquerque, NM.
Leroy is also survived by many brothers and sisters in Christ.
Leroy was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Shirley; daughter, Donna; and brother, Troy Ayers of Hollis, OK.