Thomas Ayres was an influential Western landscape sketcher, painter, and panorama artist from Woodbridge, New Jersey who traveled west during the California Gold Rush – visiting Yosemite Valley as one of the first parties and sketching extensively there.
He has extensive experience advising senior leaders and serving in multiple combat deployments as an Army judge advocate, covering topics including national security, technology transformation and compliance matters.
Early Life and Education
Thomas Ayres was a military lawyer and General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force. As such, he oversaw legislation creating this new service branch while leading a team of attorneys that advised its Chief of Staff and other leaders regarding legal matters across its spectrum.
Ayres was born in Montclair, New Jersey. While at East Orange High School he played on its back-to-back state champion football teams. Ayres then attended United States Military Academy where he earned both his undergraduate degree and later went on to obtain both his Master of Laws from University of Pennsylvania.
Ayres found great pleasure in watching sports and hearing his family laugh during his later years. Additionally, he enjoyed reading and collecting antiques – activities he was an active part of Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Danville.
Tom spent his professional career serving the Army. As deputy judge advocate general he oversaw its legal center and served as both appellate judge and prosecutor, providing legal support for over one million soldiers worldwide as well as 200,000 civilian employees worldwide. Furthermore he oversaw compliance issues and sensitive investigations within the military.
As part of his retirement activities, he remained actively engaged with his community. He served on both Randolph Economic Development Committee and Two Rivers Ottauquechee’s Cornerstone Creative Committee; additionally he provided consultation for local arts groups like Chandler. A fan of Ohio University football and men’s basketball games; also an avid fisherman/hunter; his wife was an active member at Mary Queen of Peace Church with three children and six grandchildren living here at that time.
Achievement and Honors
Thomas Ayres served on Northwestern University’s Board of Trustees from 1975 until 1986 as chairman, becoming life trustee later that year. To honor him for his service to Northwestern, 2324 Campus Drive residence hall at 2324 Campus Drive was dedicated in 1984 in his name.
He was also renowned military lawyer, serving as Army judge advocate from 1984 to 1996 and taking on various leadership roles including prosecutor, environmental litigator, appellate judge and commander of the Army Legal Center and School.
He was an avid sports fan, holding season tickets for Ohio University football, men’s, and women’s basketball games. Additionally, he enjoyed music and performed professionally as a clarinetist. Finally, as a family man he took great joy in hearing their laughter.
Ayres was an avid birdwatcher and ornithologist, known for his contributions in naming several species – such as his namesake birds: the Ayres’ Hawk-eagle and Cisticola. Additionally, Ayres enjoyed music and played bass clarinet. As a producer for Hanna-Barbera Productions, Kama Sutra Records and Buddha Records, Ayres brought local talent into the recording industry’s eye.
His military career started with his commission from the United States Military Academy at West Point and later earned his Juris Doctor from University of Pennsylvania School of Law. Subsequently he completed numerous officer-level courses such as Judge Advocate Basic and Advanced Courses as well as Army Command and General Staff College before retiring as a major general.
Thomas Ayres has an estimated net worth of $78,000,000. He is an American lawyer, entrepreneur and activist. Ayres currently sits on the boards of directors for Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Erikson Institute and Bank Street College of Education – in New York City; additionally serving as trustee at Northwestern University.
As demand for homebuilding increased after the 1920s, Don Ayres Sr. expanded his family business by developing subdivision communities – continuing the tradition of quality and value homebuilding. Over time, Tom Ayres joined and brought with him his unique approach to land development and construction; today he serves as General Counsel for the U.S. Air Force since 2011. Additionally he is widely respected worldwide as an adviser and leader of teams of lawyers.