Antoinette “Toni” Wasson Ayres passed away peacefully at her home in Newport Beach on July 12, 2012 at the age of 81. A mother of five, a grandmother of 12… a believer, an artist, a traveler, a writer, an encourager, an optimist, a naturalist and a woman of passion, these were just some of our mother’s traits. Born in Hollywood on March 19, 1931, the daughter of Reid and Jean Wasson. She spent her early years in the hills of Hollywood with her brother, Mackenzie, graduating from Hollywood High, graduating from UCLA with a BA degree in Education, while being a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority. She taught grade school in Los Angeles before meeting her husband, Don Ayres Jr. at (Bal) Week on Balboa Island. They were married in 1954 in Los Angeles. Their first children were born in 1956, Don and Bruce (twins) Doug, Allyson and Victoria followed. Her focus then became family; bringing love, laughter and a sense of fun, to the family homes in Cameo Shores, Dover Shores and lastly, Lido Island. With a sense for adventure, she led family vacations to the National Parks, Washington D.C., skiing and sailing. Pets, vegetable gardens and constant cooking for friends and family; Toni’s energy level was boundless. Toni was a vibrant part of the community as a Board of Trustee member of Newport Harbor Art Museum, early member of the Sherman Gardens and Newport Harbor Service League. Toni’s second career was being an artist. NYC was her home for seventeen years. Her co-op was on 9th St. & 5th Ave. and her art studio on the East Side where many large sculptures were created. She earned a Master’s Degree at the School of Visual Art, New York. Early effects of dementia brought her home to Newport Beach in 2002. Our mother was endlessly courageous in her many trials. Her spirit still touched the people she encountered during this part of her life with family, friends, doctors and nurses. She impressed us all with her positive, clear and continuing insightful comments on life, of people, of hope, of family. She is survived by Bruce (Jill), Don III (Sandra), Doug, Allyson (Bruce D’Eliscu) and Victoria. She was Grandma Toni to: Chase, Dorian, Don 4, Hayley, Ethan, Dustin, Beau, Campbell, Briggs, Alodie, and Annabelle and was predeceased by her grandson, Dylan. The family wishes to convey special thanks and appreciation to those who helped Toni enjoy her days in her own home until her last breath: Hospice Care and her caregivers, Nikki Douglas and Victoria Fiesta.
A celebration of life ceremony will be held on Friday, August 10,11AM at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. Light, colorful and summer attire is requested.