Claude “Butch” Ayers

Family: Wife, Patsy; children, Skip and Debra; and grandchildren Derek Ayers, 24; Madison Gibbs, 17; and Autumn Gibbs, 7.
Hometown: Reeds Spring, Mo.

Town Life: Claude Ayers has owned Ayers Heating and Cooling in Forsyth, Mo., since 1974. He specializes in installing new residential units and repairing older ones. Claude’s work philosophy is to “start early and finish late, do it right the first time and you won’t have to deal with it again.” His son, Skip, has been part of the business since high school. “Working with family can be complicated,” Claude explained. “But it also has advantages and can be fulfilling.”

Country Life: A sprawling 160-acre farm north of Forsyth is where Claude spends his off time. He has a large herd of mixed Charolais and Limousin cattle, along with a Gelbvieh bull. The cattle are produced primarily for beef. “I really enjoy spending time out in the field watching the livestock as well as the area wildlife,” Claude acknowledged. “It gives me a much needed rest from hectic, day-to-day life.”
Not only does Claude include family in his business life, he also has made his farm a family affair. Currently, he and his granddaughter, Autumn, have been trying to save a newborn calf. “The mother was unable to take care of it,” Claude confided. “We’ve tried real hard to save it.” Claude likes the fact that his granddaughter is interested in helping out around the farm. “I hope she’ll learn some important life skills and lessons from her experiences on the farm,” Claude said.
He hopes that the farm will continue to be a family tradition for many years to come.


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