Gilmer C. Ayers, MD

Class Year




Posted on: August 26, 2022

Gilmer “Gil” C. Ayers was born an only child, on May 30, 1936, to Grace Walker Ayers and Gilmer Franklin Ayers. After living a very full and exciting life, he left this earth to live in his heavenly home on May 24, 2022.

Gil spent several of his early years in China Grove while his father was off serving in World War II. He was the apple of his mother and aunts’ eyes. He built a strong bond with his grandfather Walker, who was affectionately called Pops, picking blackberries and gardening. He also acquired a taste for Cheerwine and Carolina barbeque while there.

The family moved to Roanoke. Gil decided at a young age to become a physician. He wanted to help people and it became his life’s mission. Gil attended Roanoke College where he met his love and life mate of 56 years, Florence Robey Ayers, who was the only reason he ever made it through Algebra. After graduation, Gil then entered UVA Medical School where he became a lifelong UVA Wahoo fan. After graduating in 1962, Gil served in the Air Force for two years at Pope Air Force Base.

Gil loved being a physician! It was his life’s calling. He had that rare ability to provide exceptional care and ensure every patient felt they were the most important patient in the world, because to him, they were. He made house calls until the day he retired for the love of his patients. He was a physician to family and friends. Patients still talked about him even after he was retired for many years—that is exceptional. Patients speak of him as respectfully and graciously years after he left active practice. Many physicians used him as a mentor and as a career model to strive to emulate.

He lived a good and magical life, and was loved by so many people, being patients, colleagues, friends and family. His career was stellar and his personal life full, envied by many. He was a most remarkable man who touched so many lives in a positive way, always keeping up and remembering everyone. You always felt better after being with Gil. Just as he treated his patients, you always felt like you were the only person in the room with him.

Even with his busy professional life, he made time for all the family. “Camp Grandpa” is a cherished memory for grandchildren CJ and Kenzie. Gil spent weeks planning for that summer visit, and it showed in the wide variety of activities and venues.

He retired before he planned to so that he could take care of his wife, Flo, who was suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s disease. He took care of her at home and then visited her daily at Caroline Robinson’s home until her death in June, 2010. His patience and dedication were amazing.

After Flo’s passing, Gil filled his time with playing golf, spending time with friends, attending UVA sporting events and doting on his favorite grandchildren, CJ and Kenzie.

Gil then found a new partner, Diane Heavner. They traveled extensively and Diane cared for Gil as his health declined so he could stay in his home.

The word generous did not exist in Webster’s dictionary before Gil Ayers was born. He supported UVA Student Aid Foundation for over 50 years, and was known by many of the coaches and administrative staff over the years. He was a philanthropist to his church and community and helped anyone in need. Gil was an active member of First Presbyterian Church, where he served as a deacon and elder. One of his most enjoyable activities was through the church Guatemala mission trip assisting with the medical needs of local villagers. Gil also served the District Home for 32 years as the Home’s Medical Director.

Gil was an avid reader and was a continuous learner. His mind stayed sharp until the very end, as did his legendary sense of humor. His humor, kindness, and authenticity will be sorely missed.

He is survived by and will be missed by his loving children, Kathy Joyner and husband, Gary, and Sharon Ayers; and by his beloved grandchildren, CJ George and Mackenzie Joyner.

His passionate pursuit of excellence has no equal and left us, sadly, with no replacement.