Gary  Ayre

Gary Russell Ayre

1956 - 2023

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Obituary of Gary Russell Ayre

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Thankful for a life lived with love, family, adventure, strength and determination, we announce the passing of Gary Russell Ayre, at home, surrounded by his loving family, on Monday January 16, 2023 at age 66.


Beloved and devoted husband and best friend to his wife of 41 years, Barbara.  He will be forever missed by his children, Steph and Dan, Rob and Allie, and his precious grandchildren Norah, Walter, Adele and Matilda. Gary was predeceased by his parents, Lionel and Elva Ayre of Stratford.


An eternal optimist, there was never a project too big or a problem too small for Gary to tackle. “Reef the sail and we’ll make it through,” was his approach to life. He was a passionate, devoted and caring father and grandfather (Boppa). Gary took great pleasure in his children’s lives and never missed a practice, game, audition, musical, interview or swim meet.  You name it, Gary was there coaching from the bench, cheering from the stands or chauffeuring, giving words of wisdom and encouragement along the way.

Gary continued this with his grandchildren, teaching them to fish, performing skits with them around the campfire, building forts and snuggling in and reading with them.


At a young age, Gary learned that life can be tenuous and grasped the opportunity for adventure with his family and friends at every turn.  He left work for a year to sail the Caribbean and live on a 39-foot sailboat with his wife and young children. He jumped at any opportunity to get back on a boat including trips with friends up to the north channel, and a daring 3-night passage from the Bahamas to Charleston. From cottages, to camping trips, to projects of every size, Gary embraced every chance that came his way if that meant more time spent with his friends and family.


Friends will remember Gary with fondness, always quick with humour, ready to hand them the tiller for an exhilarating sail, tee off for a round of golf filled with plenty of ribbing and the occasional straight drive down the fairway, or chatting about his favourite team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.


Gary will be well remembered across Waterloo Region for his 30 years of dedication to students and their education, culminating in his years as principal of Eastwood, Elmira and Laurel Heights Secondary Schools. Over the course of his career, he coached many sports including basketball, football, women’s and men’s hockey. Gary was a church warden and lay reader, ran committees for fundraising and community events and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, National Service Dogs, and the Food Bank.


The Ayre family is forever grateful to all of the health care providers who treated Gary with compassion and determination. There are so many people who impacted his journey, gave him strength, and helped to provide him with more time to continue his adventure with his family. To each and every one of these amazing people, thank you.


A Memorial Service will be held at St George's of Forest Hill Anglican Church, 321 Fischer-Hallman Rd, Kitchener, on Saturday, January 21st at 11:00am with a reception to follow in the church hall, and all are welcome to attend. In lieu of flowers, condolences and memorial donations can be made to the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre or Cardiac Care at St. Mary’s Hospital at


Memorial Service

11:00 am
Saturday, January 21, 2023
St. George's of Forest Hill Anglican Church
321 Fischer-Hallman Road
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada


Immediately following the service in the Church Hall.