100-year-old lived through landmark global events

Horace T. Ayres was born before the first ship went through the Panama Canal, World War I and the invention of the stop sign. On June 26, he turned 100 and took part in a ceremony attended by his friends, family and several, 2090 E. Flamingo Rd., Ste. 100. others who enjoy the gift of longevity.

The honorees were patients of Nevada Eye Care, 2090 E. Flamingo Road, Suite 100.

“For the past 21 years, Nevada Eye Care has celebrated our patients who reach their 100th birthday,” said Dr. Emil Stein. “Including Horace, we have had four patients reach this milestone.”

The event included a live band, lunch, an ice cream social and cake.

Horace was accompanied by his wife, Valmae Ayres. The couple have been married 71 years. Both are Nevada Eye Care patients.

“We met in General MacArthur’s office in Australia in World War II,” Valmae Ayres said. “My family were relocated to Brisbane during the war, and I was hired as secretary to the adjutant.”

The couple were married at the Cathedral of St. Stephens in Brisbane, Australia, and the ceremony was attended by an honor guard.

“During the war, he received the Bronze Star with clusters,” said Valmae Ayres. “We don’t know exactly what he did. It’s something he never talks about.”

Texas native Horace Ayres served as a captain in the U.S. Army and worked at the Pentagon for seven years. The couple retired and moved to Las Vegas in 1993.

Stein said the birthday parties were something that came from a discussion more than 20 years ago when he was talking to a 98-year-old patient. He told the patient that when he made it to 100, he’d throw the birthday party. He added that he has seven patients who are 99 and 10 who are 98, so they could be looking at a run of parties in the next few years.

The ceremony was attended by several of Ayres’ five children and five grandchildren. His five great-grandchildren were not in attendance. Representatives of several government officials brought certificates of appreciation and proclamations for Ayres. Another was sent by his alma mater, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

“I spent a great four years there,” Ayres said.

Stein asked if there had been parties at Virginia Tech.

“Oh, yeah,” Ayres replied. “Sometimes too many.”

A representative from Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s office announced that the day was declared Horace Ayres Day, and greetings from President Obama and the first lady were read.

‘This is really special,” Valmae Ayres said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better birthday.”

Contact East Valley View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at ataylor@viewnews.com or 702-380-4532.

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