Lt. Col. James Ayers Jr. Lt. Col James L. Ayers Jr., died Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Mr. Ayers was born Aug. 14, 1928, in Chattanooga, and graduated from Chattanooga Central High School in 1947. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering in 1954. He served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on active duty from June 1954 until March 1956. In January 1959, he began a 30 year career with the National Parks Service and retired June 1988. He remained in the Active Army Reserve system a total of 35 years before retiring in August 1988 as a Lieutenant Colonel. He was awarded a meritorious service medal. He was a member of Macedonia Baptist Church of Cleveland, Tenn. He was preceded in death by his wife of 46 years, Clara Beene Ayers; his parents, James L. Ayers Sr. and Viola May Ayers and his sister, Agnes Trusley. Survivors include his nieces, Connie (Bobby) Woods, Wilma (Dean) Ownby, Patricia (John) Thomason and Angela (Chase) Blair; nephews, Charles (Iva Dell) Lauderback and Ray (Debbie) Lauderback; and sister-in-law, Robbynell Johnston Funeral services will be held at 11:30 a.m. Friday, March 7, in the funeral home chapel with Pastor Rusty Langford officiating. Interment will be in Chattanooga National Cemetery with military honors. Visit www.heritagefh.com to share words of comfort with the family. The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. today, March 6, at Heritage Funeral Home, East Brainerd Road.