Kenneth Ayles

Kenneth Gregory Ayles, 50, of Sandy Hook died Thursday, August 21, with his family by his side.

Mr Ayles grew up in Norwalk. He graduated from Norwalk High, and led its basketball team to win the state basketball title in 1982. He attended the University of Maine-Machias for a short time. He was employed by Kaufman Fuel until his diagnosis with brain cancer, six years ago.

Ken married Jennifer Beiser on December 6, 2003; they moved to Sandy Hook the following month. Mr Ayles was diagnosed with a brain tumor in July 2008. He then became very involved in Newtown's Relay For Life, an annual event that raises funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society. Ken and Jen Ayles were named honorary co-chairs of the Newtown event for 2009. They formed a team, Brainstorm, which went on to raise more than $50,000 for the ACS over the next four years.

Mr Ayles coached youth basketball teams for several years, before becoming a certified referee. More recently, his focus was on Hoopsters, a local basketball program for special needs kids. That is where his heart was.

He loved spending time with friends and family, most especially his children. He often volunteered at their schools, and was frequently seen having lunch in the cafeteria with Olivia and Brayden, along with their friends.

At 6 feet, 10 inches, he seemed somewhat larger than life. Mr Ayles could often be seen around town wearing shorts on even the coldest of days, yet was always available for a laugh or a warm hug.

His loving wife, Jennifer (Beiser) Ayles, and their children, Olivia and Brayden; four brothers and their spouses, Bill and Kathleen, Ron and Cindy, Mark and Jennifer, and Donald and Shawna; his mother Shirley M. Ayles, of Ohio; mother-in-law Delores Beiser; brother-in-law Jeff Beiser, and wife Meg; along with many beloved nieces, nephews, and close dear friends survive Mr Ayles. His father, William G. Ayles, Jr, preceded him.

There will be a gathering of friends on Thursday, August 28, 5 to 8 pm, at Honan Funeral Home, 58 Main Street in Newtown, where friends can share stories of Ken.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St Rose of Lima Church, 46 Church Hill Road in Newtown, Friday, August 29, at 11 am. Interment will follow.

For those wishing to make a donation in Ken’s memory, an account has been established in Jennifer’s name to help support Olivia and Brayden’s education, at Citizens Bank, PO Box 1111, Middletown CT 06457; or consider a donation to directly benefit brain cancer research via Ken’s Giving Page at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (http://mskcc.convio.net/goto/ken), or mail to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center — Ken Ayles Giving Page, 1275 York Avenue, New York NY 10065.

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