I knew Pete Ayling at USTDC and I wrote a couple of pieces about him back in 2007, one HERE and another one HERE. Pete was definitely one of the good guys. He worked with another friend of mine, Air Force Master Sergeant Larry Sherman, up in J-2.
We all experience life but Pete seemed to devour it. I don't think I ever saw him saunter anywhere; it just wasn't his style. I thought I was a pretty fair racquetball player when I arrived in town but I quickly learned that he was a whole lot better. He was an expert at placing the ball wherever I didn't happen to be at the time and his "dink" shots to the corners were impossible to return.
I remember that Pete and his family didn't live in the American housing areas, choosing instead to experience the culture of Taiwan. Most of his kids' friends were Chinese and he used to joke that his youngest daughter sometimes refused to speak English. I can still picture him grinning as he said that and I know he was very proud of his family.
Pete always "knew a guy." If you were looking for furniture, jade jewelry or anything else in Taipei, he always knew where you should go for the best quality and lowest price and would probably offer to drive you there at breakneck speed in his Volkswagen bus.
I'm not surprised to learn that he had a good life and I'm saddened that he's no longer with us. Here's his obituary from 2009:
Sept. 2, 1935 - Feb. 6, 2009
Retired Army Master Sgt. Peter M. Ayling, 73, of Sierra Vista, Ariz., passed away Friday, Feb. 6, 2009. He had been a resident of Sierra Vista for 27 years.
Pete was born Sept. 2, 1935, to George and Anna (Doughtery) Ayling in Philadelphia, Pa. A decorated U.S. Army veteran, with two tours of duty in Vietnam, he retired as a master sergeant in 1982 from Fort Huachuca. Pete continued to serve his country after his military career with a 20-year career in civil service, working with foreign military students. He traveled much of the globe throughout his life and has friends worldwide. Pete enjoyed sports and was an avid racquetball player with countless tournament wins in the U.S. and overseas. He was actively involved with the local community to include coaching Little League and refereeing youth soccer.
Pete is survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Margaret Ayling; three daughters, Robin, Kimberly and Paige; one son, Pete; one granddaughter, Ashley; one great-granddaughter, Julissa; four sisters, Ann, Evelyn, Claire, Ginny; and four brothers, Clifford, Philip, Nelson and Alan.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Lorraine and June.
A graveside service with military honors will be Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009, at 2 p.m. at the Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 1300 Buffalo Soldier Trail, Sierra Vista.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made in Peter and Margaret's name to the American Cancer Society Memorials, c/o Dorothy Kervahn, 1936 Windsor Drive, Sierra Vista, AZ 85635-4876.