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Donald AyrtonOctober 27, 1932 ~ May 7, 2019 (age 86)
Donald L. Ayrton, Sr. of Andover, Connecticut passed away on May 7, 2019 after a brief illness. He was born on October 27, 1932 to Halstead B. Ayrton, Sr. and Dorothy Pimer Ayrton in New London, Connecticut. He spent his youth in Waterford on the Niantic River Road. As a young adult, he was very well known in the horse show world training, riding, and raising horses, earning the title of State Champion in the saddleseat division, and also showing multiple times at Madison Square Garden. He graduated from Bulkeley School for Boys in 1951 and enlisted in the Navy as an airplane mechanic serving on two carriers: USS Palau and USS Gilbert Islands. Upon returning home after serving his country in the military, he began working for the State of Connecticut Department of Transportation with the surveying department, working his way up to District Superintendent supervising maintainers. He retired from DOT in 1987. In addition to his State job, he also worked as a journeyman with an independent land surveyor during the 1960’s to become a licensed land surveyor running his own business in Waterford, and later in Canterbury. He was a past president of the Waterford Lions Club. After moving to Canterbury he was a member of many town boards and in 1972 founded the Canterbury Lions Club, holding the first meetings in the living room of the family home. The Canterbury Lions Club is still active today – an achievement of which he was so very proud.
In 1980 he married Carol G. Ayrton.
In addition to his parents he was predeceased by all of his siblings: Arlene Kilpatrick, Halstead B. Ayrton, Jr., Robert J. Ayrton, and Judy Dole. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Carol G. Ayrton of Andover, Connecticut, and his children Donald L. (Lee) Ayrton Jr., of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Darlene L. Ayrton of Canterbury, Connecticut, and Peter H. Ayrton of East Falmouth, Massachusetts; grandchildren Sabrina L. Ayrton of Bethlehem, New Hampshire, Cameron H. Ayrton of East Falmouth, Massachusetts, and Michael Collins of Bloomington, Minnesota, and one Great Grandchild, Olivia Collins of Bloomington, Minnesota. He is also survived by his stepsons and their families.
In the late 1970’s Donald started attending the church where I and my sons Jonathan and David Little where members. As we became friends, in October 1980 we were married. I had a pet pug at the time and my son, Jonathan’s future wife, Nan traded a portrait of a pug for a show pug puppy. I started showing and Donald kept the catalogue, pedigrees, and paperwork. As time went on Donald also began to show the pugs and quite often, we would compete against one another in the same class. In the almost forty years enjoying this sport we were able to finish 46 pugs and are in the process of finishing three more, who only need two or three points to get their championship. We enjoyed traveling around the country, as far as Colorado, going to National Specialty Shows as well as others along the way. Donald enjoyed this past time until a couple of years ago when it became too difficult to keep up with the dogs. I have continued to show and are presently showing to do so. Donald loved his pugs, especially Sam, Little Big Man, and Cookie Baby. Through the years Donald made many friends around the country doing what he loved most.
Calling hours will be held at Potter Funeral Home, 456 Jackson Street, Willimantic on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 5-7p.m. Funeral Service will be at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Willimantic followed by Interment at Dean Cemetery in Canterbury.
Donations may be made to Yankee Pug Dog Club, in care of Ross Sidell, 723 Forbes Road, East Hartford, Connecticut 06118. For an online memorial guestbook, please visit www.potterfuneralhome.com.
Yankee Pug Dog Club
723 Forbes Street, East Hartford CT 06118