Alan Ayer, a well-known obstetrician-gynecologist and the husband of Sen. Claire Ayer (D-Addison), died suddenly Friday at his Addison home.
The senator learned of her 71-year-old spouse's death late Friday afternoon on her way home from the Statehouse, according to Sen. Jeanette White (D-Windham), a close friend.
Dr. Ayer worked at Addison Associates in Obstetrics and Gynecology and on the medical staff at Porter Medical Center in Middlebury, most recently in a part-time, semi-retired capacity. The couple had three grown children.
Sen. Ayer, a registered nurse, serves as Senate majority whip and chairs the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. Vice Chair Ginny Lyons (D-Chittenden) said the committee’s agenda will continue as scheduled this week. Lyons and White said Monday it’s too soon to know how long Sen. Ayer will be away.
Ayer was a key negotiator of a firearms bill due for action on the Senate floor Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden) said no delays are anticipated for the bill.
White, who rooms with Ayer in Montpelier during the legislative session, said Ayer spoke with her husband by phone Thursday night and he was fine.
Daughter Allison Ayer posted a message on Facebook describing her father as an “all-around fix-it guy, joker, sage, confidante, soother of ills & worries, celebrant of life’s victories.”
She added, “Bereft isn’t a sufficient word.”
Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell sent a joint statement to senators over the weekend to inform them of Dr. Ayer's death.
"We know we speak for the entire legislature when we say we are here for Claire and her family during this very difficult time," they said.
Calling hours for Dr. Ayer are scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Sanderson-Ducharme Funeral Home on South Main Street in Middlebury. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.