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Benjamin H. Ayres Scholarship

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Benjamin Haile Ayres

Benjamin Haile Ayres was born and raised in Ocala, Marion County, Florida. He was one of three children of Willard and Gladys Haile Martin Ayres.

Ben attended Marion County public schools, graduating from Ocala High School in 1965. He graduated from the University of Florida in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Following a tour of duty with the U.S. Army in Vietnam, Ben earned a second bachelor’s degree in accounting from Florida State University in 1973. He then returned to the University of Florida College of Law and completed his Juris Doctor in 1976.

Ben served as Cabinet aide for Commissioner of Agriculture Doyle Conner from 1976 to 1980, when he was admitted to the Florida Bar. He served as an assistant state attorney for the Fifth Judicial Circuit from 1980 to 1984, when he entered private practice. He served as general counsel for Marion County Tax Collector Mac Olsen from 1990 to 2005.

Ben loved Ocala and Marion County. He was an active and involved member of that community. He served as president of the Marion County Bar Association and held leadership roles on numerous boards, councils and advisory committees. He was involved in many civic and fraternal organizations, as well as community projects and initiatives. He was a lifelong member of Grace Episcopal Church, where he served on the vestry and as a lay Eucharistic minister.

Ben had a true passion for Gator football and missed only a handful of games during his lifetime. He was also an avid fisherman.

Ben passed away in 2005 he was survived by his wife, Carolyn, three children and four grandchildre

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