Susanna Wesley Ayers

Susanna Wesley “Susie” (Morris) Ayers, 59, of Rindge, passed away on Jan. 25, 2020, at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon following a brief period of declining health.

She was born on April 26, 1960, daughter of the late Alfred E. and Barbra L. Morris.

Susie married Kenneth A. Ayers in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 14, 1979, and had just celebrated their 40th anniversary. Three months after their marriage, Susie and Ken, who was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, transferred from Andrews AFB in Maryland to the Netherlands for what Susie called a “four-year honeymoon” courtesy of the Air Force. Returning stateside, they were stationed at Columbus AFB in Mississippi. From this location Ken was transferred Osan AB in the Republic of Korea for a year “remote” (without spouse) tour. Susie remained at Columbus AFB volunteering in the base Emergency Department as a unit coordinator and continuing her education at Mississippi State University. Susie and Ken were reunited for a tour at Hanscom AFB in Massachusetts during which time Susie earned a BA in anthropology from UMass Boston. In the early 1990s it was back to the Netherlands for a second tour at NATO’s Allied Forces Central Europe, Central Region Signal Group. During this six-year period Susie earned a BA in English from the University of Maryland, European Division. During this period Susie coordinated the American Red Cross, Health and Safety Program at Schinnen, Netherlands. The conclusion of the Netherlands tour culminated with Ken retiring from the Air Force, having served 24 years and Susie sharing 17 of those years with him as a “dependent wife,” a term Susie hated.

In the 22 years post active duty time Susie earned a BS in the sciences and mathematics from Keene State College. She also continued to teach health and safety courses for the American Red Cross. Susie became known to the Rindge Fire Department as the manikin lady because of all the CPR training manikins stored in the garage. Putting into practice what she taught in the classroom, Susie volunteered as a member of Roger’s Rangers, providing medical support for the Cheshire Fair Grounds until 2018. Susie served as station chief on several occasions and during the last two years of the organization’s existence was on the board of directors. Susie also developed and delivered the Keene Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic/Hospital, “Keeping Baby Safe” program.

Susie touched many lives directly, and through her instruction in health and safety services indirectly affected many more lives. Susie’s strong personality, tenacity and loving care will be missed.

Susie passed very suddenly due to cancer complications. Until the last week of her life none of her family or friends knew, or even suspected, anything of this magnitude was wrong. Outwardly there were no detectable signs, however in her body it was found that Susie was riddled with cancer.

Susie is survived by her life’s partner, Kenneth A. Ayers of Rindge and originally of Swanzey; her brother, Paul Morris, and his partner, Darlene Lorenzen, of Myrtle Beach, S.C.; her brother-in-law: Walter Ayers and his wife Donna; sister-in-law, Marguerite “Peggy,” and her husband, Scott LaFreniere; and her nephew, Benjamin LaFreniere.

Family and friends are invited to call on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Fletcher Funeral Home, 33 Marlboro St., Keene.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are requested to be made in Susanna W. Ayers’ name to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22478, Oklahoma City OK 73123 (www.Cancer.org).

Fletcher Funeral Home of Keene has been entrusted with the arrangements. To express condolences or to share a memory of Susie, please visit www.FletcherFuneralHome.com.