Longtime Miami food service worker leaves legacy of caring – Oxford Observer
Photo by Scott Kissell
Phyllis Joan Ayers spent 61 years making sure “her children” were well fed in Miami University dining rooms.
Ayers, 91, of Oxford, died on April 2nd. A longtime food service professional at Miami University and an Oxford resident, left a great legacy and savvy mindset.
She had built a large family in her 91 years, including three children, nine grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
“My mother was a kind, loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend. She loved taking her family out to dinner, family reunions, and Christmas, and she always loved to be the center of attention, ”said her son Todd Ayers. “I want my mother to be remembered as a loving, caring and giving person who always greeted you with a smile. S.He loved her job and the students. She often called the students “her children”. “
Ayers began her career on June 25, 1958 in Miami. It started at Hepburn Hall until the Martin Dining Hall opened in 1959, according to Tina Rotundo, director of Miami Catering.
“She worked downstairs making pizza and submarines,” Rotundo said. “The students and staff called her the ‘Pizza Queen’ and had a special crown made for her because no one could make a pizza better than her.”
Ayers also developed a special relationship with the Miami Golf Team, which ate at Martin and was even invited to the coach’s Christmas party.
Two of the team members accompanied her to an awards dinner in Miami, where she received the Innovative Leadership Award. This award was given to her for “exemplary customer service, customer satisfaction and positive effects on the guests”.
Ayers has had many other achievements in her life, including participating in a bowling league and participating in tournaments for over 40 years.
Ayers retired from Miami during the 2015 Martin Dining Hall upgrade. She had already taken time off when her husband Kemper Ayers died in 1989, but returned a year later because she missed her “children” too much.
In retirement, Ayers often visited Gatlinburg, Tennessee, visited her sister in Indiana, and went to church every Sunday, according to her son Todd.
“She will be missed very much by her family and friends. Rest in peace, ”he said.
Ogle Paul Young Oxford Funeral Home, arranged arrangements and a private family service were held.