|Birth: ||Jul. 31, 1930|
|Death: ||Dec. 8, 2006|
W. E. Ayres, 76, of Pine Bluff, died at Jefferson Regional Medical Center on Friday, December 8, 2006. Born in Greenville, Mississippi on July 31, 1930, the son of the late William Emmett and Linnie Gault Ayres, he was reared and received his early education in Greenville, graduating from Greenville High School. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in economics and business administration in 1954 from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. He was a 1962 graduate of the Louisiana State University School of Banking of the South, later serving on the school's board of directors. Mr. Ayres was awarded honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Southeast Arkansas College.
Moving to Pine Bluff following his college graduation, Mr. Ayres was associated with Simmons First National Bank (SFNB) and Simmons First National Corporation (SFNC) since 1957. He became Senior Vice President of SFNB Lending Operations in 1969, was elected to the Board of Directors in 1977, named President of SFNB in 1985, and President and Chief Executive Officer of SFNB and SFNC in 1986. He was elected Chairman of the Board and CEO of SFNC and Chairman of the board of SFNB in 1987, retiring from those positions December 31, 1995. He was currently serving as director emeritus of SFNB, SFNC, and Simmons Bank of South Arkansas.
Very involved in his community and in the banking profession, he was past president of the Arkansas Bankers Association, Kiwanis Club of Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff Chamber of Commerce, Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra, Partners for a Better Pine Bluff, and the Southeast Chapter of Robert Morris Associates. He was secretary of Fifty for the Future in Pine Bluff for many years. He was past Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Administrative Board of Lakeside United Methodist Church where he was a member and taught Sunday School for many years. He was past chairman of the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Southeast Arkansas, the Pine Bluff-Jefferson County Port Authority, Arkansas Basin Association, and the Arkansas Waterways Commission. He had served as a member of the boards of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Trinity Village of Pine Bluff, the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce, UAPB Foundation Fund, Foundation for the Mid-South Enterprise Corporation, Jefferson County Industrial Foundation, Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra, the Arkansas School for Mathematics and Science Foundation, and the regional and national boards of Robert Morris Associates. He served as an instructor for the Colorado Graduate School of Banking and was an instructor and chaired numerous committees for the Arkansas Bankers Association.
His survivors include his wife, Diane Brown Ayres, to whom he was married in 1954; one son, Tim Ayres and his wife, Leigh Ann, of Atlanta, Georgia; one daughter, Cathy Zimmerman of Boulder, Colorado; and five grandchildren, Emma and Gus Zimmerman, Ashlyn, Wesley, and Cartwright Ayres.
Memorial services were December 11, 2006 at Lakeside United Methodist Church in Pine Bluff with Reverend Jim Brooks and Reverend John Embrey officiating, directed by Ralph Robinson & Son.
Obituary by Ralph Robinson & Son.
Plot: Southwood A
Created by: gailb
Record added: May 20, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 37301589