Stuart Ayshford Jr. — Waltham

Stuart Ayshford Jr., 85, of Waltham, died Sunday, June 24, 2012, of natural causes, at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester.

Stuart Ayshford was born Sept. 18, 1926, in Pleasant Grove Township, Olmsted County, to Stuart and Margaret (Gerber) Ayshford. He grew up on the family farm and attended rural and Stewartville schools. Stuart enlisted into the United States Navy in 1943, serving during WWII, including duty overseas in the Pacific. After his discharge, he returned to the Rochester area.

Stuart was married on Jan. 5, 1950, in Rochester, to Joan McLain. Following their marriage, the couple made their home in Rochester where they raised their son, Randy. They were later divorced, but stayed lifelong friends. Stuart was employed in the construction industry in the Rochester area for many years. He was a member of the Construction Laborers Union Local 405 until his retirement.

Stuart was selected to participate in the Honors Flight program in 2009. He considered the tour of Washington, D.C. with fellow veterans a great honor and an opportunity of a lifetime.

Stuart enjoyed working on home improvements projects and took great pride in keeping a beautiful yard. He enjoyed following the Minnesota Twins, as well as other sports. Stuart had a big heart for animals and enjoyed the companionship of his cats and dog. He also had a strong appreciation for nature and in earlier years enjoyed camping and walking wooded trails. He was a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles and Byron American Legion Post 119.

Stuart was very thankful for his wonderful, caring neighbors — Bill and Lindsay Cordle, Gary Fitzpatrick, and Lois and Bob Gebhardt — who provided support and friendship during his years living in Waltham. Family was very important to Stuart, he always enjoyed family gatherings, and especially loved spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandsons.

Survivors include his son, Randall (Mary) of Byron; three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, Hillary Ayshford of Rochester, Christopher (Thamara) and great-grandson, Talos Ayshford, of Kasson, and William (Jennifer) and great-grandson, Rex Ayshford, of Byron; a sister, Joyce Nereson of White Bear Lake; and a brother, Alvin (Gloria) Ayshford of Hot Springs, Ark.

He was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Virginia Golberg and Nora Thompson; and two brothers, Victor and Bruce Ayshford.

Visitation is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., followed by a prayer service at 7 p.m., on Wednesday, June 27, at Griffin-Gray Funeral Home in Stewartville. A private family burial will take place at a later date at Union Cemetery in Pleasant Grove.

The family suggests memorials to Paws and Claws Humane Society, Rochester.

Arrangements are with Griffin-Gray Funeral Home, Stewartville ( ).