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Obituary for Russell Gordon Ayers
Russell Gordon Ayers was born on Halloween. His parents, Leslie S. Ayers and Audrey Frechin Ayers met in occupied Japan. They married in 1947, sister Lauren was born in Tokyo in 1948, sister Claudia was born in 1949 in Fort Ord (California), and Russell was born in Albuquerque 1950 while his father was stationed at Sandia Base (New Mexico). Then this nuclear family moved to Fort Hood (Texas), then to Rio de Janeiro, then Fort Benning (Georgia), then Fort Riley (Kansas). Army brats move around! Civilian life began when Russell was eight when the family settled down in Lafayette, California, for six whole years. There he spent most of his time outside wandering the local foothills first on foot, later on his horse, Cicero. His father’s civil service career next took them to Washington DC for the years that Russell was in High School. It was hard for this nature boy to live in a city; his dyslexia and other learning disabilities made academic efforts difficult. He left for the West before graduating high school. First, he was a ski bum in the Rockies, and later enjoyed life in a few hippy communities in California, Hawaii, and British Columbia.
He was raised an agnostic, but even as a child he admitted to atheism. So, it was a surprise to his family that by age 21 he was carrying around a big blue book (Jim Kimmel had introduced him to it) and that he actually appeared to be reading and comprehending it. His mother had never seen him voluntarily reading any other book. Before long Audrey was embracing The Urantia Book that had so captivated her wayward son. It took sister Claudia a full year of investigation to embrace it. The Urantia Revelation was important to Russell; he was a life-long reader and managed to attend a few conferences.
As a young adult Russell enjoyed a varied life of surfing, logging, gardening, home building, and making furniture with found wood from the beaches. He was an avid skier, a fast driver, and he loved surfing in all seasons.
He made a home of his own in Mendocino County near Willits for many years. Later he found the combination of surfing, nature, and good people in Gold Beach, Oregon. He settled there for his last two decades. He never married and had no children.
He had a way of making people laugh and engaging with them in interesting and long conversations. He loved playing pool with his friends, walking the beach, observing birds, clouds, the waves and nature in general. He was an artistic, sensitive soul who was not afraid of people or situations.
A smoker, a drinker, and a risk taker, his lifestyle finally caught up with him. His 80-acre ranch, over-looking the Rogue River and surrounded by national forest (where he is sure he heard Big Foot howls) finally became too remote and too hard to maintain. He sold it on August 21st and moved to town, just when his health took another downturn. Russell’s health no doubt suffered due to substance abuse; he was also in pain from old surfing & skiing injuries. In his last year COPD made every movement exhausting; a diagnosis of lung cancer was the last straw. Just months after moving into town, and weeks after his 70th birthday, he chose to take his own life in a well-hidden glade in the forest and thus began his cosmic adventure. Local authorities found him five days later; for that and many other reasons we have a very deep respect for law enforcement in Curry County and the City of Gold Beach.
Russell’s parents predeceased him in 2010 and 2011. He leaves behind many friends including a cherished girlfriend. He is survived by his sisters Lauren and Claudia; his nieces Leslie, Robin, Jesse, and Meredith; three grandnieces and one grandnephew; and eleven first cousins.