Archie Ayers, 87

Archie Ayers, one of Miami’s first black U.S. postmen, dies at 87

 
 
Archie Ayers was one of the first black U.S. mail carriers when he accepted a post office job in Miami after serving in the Army during World War II.
Archie Ayers was one of the first black U.S. mail carriers when he accepted a post office job in Miami after serving in the Army during World War II.
Courtesy Carolyn Boyce

hcohen@MiamiHerald.com

The U.S. Postal Service has no official slogan, but the creed scripted on the façade of New York’s main post office has become a familiar saying: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

But for many black Americans, the position of postal carrier, and the ability to live up to those hallowed words, was not available.

Miami-born Archie Ayers became one of the first black U.S. mail carriers when he accepted a post office job in Miami after serving in the Army during World War II.

Born in Overtown, Ayers, 87, died June 22 after a long illness. He had been married to community activist Georgia Jones Ayers, a Booker T. Washington Senior High School classmate, since 1971. And while she was known for her vocal activism on behalf of the community, her husband was the quiet force.

“I've always been a big mouth against what is wrong. You get out of life what you put into it,” Georgia Ayers said in a 1997 Miami Herald profile. Her husband, then a retired letter carrier, was “the greatest man I know,” she said.

Niece Carolyn Boyce chuckles when describing the relationship.

“He was a very lovable person. He was the peacemaker of the family. Knowing that Georgia was hardcore and a firm disciplinarian, Archie was the one who gave us a break,” Boyce said, laughing.

“Caring for him during his illness was a joy and a pleasure because he was so uplifted,” she said. “He was asking every day, ‘Are you doing all right? Are you living right?’ He was the key to our inspiration as a family, and he nurtured us.”

His strength was quiet and powerful.

“He supported Georgia. He never stopped her doing all the things she did for the community,” Boyce said. “Even in his illness, he’d get his walker and say, ‘I’m going to protect Georgia.’ That’s the way he was.”

In addition to his wife, Ayers is survived by daughters Avette and Arvolene from a previous marriage. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Range Funeral Home, 5727 NW 17th Ave., Miami. A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at Mount Hermon A.M.E. Church, 17800 NW 25th Ave., Miami Gardens.

Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.

Read more Obituaries stories from the Miami Herald

  • B.K.S. Iyengar, Indian guru who helped popularize yoga in West, dies at 95

    Before he became one of the West's most influential teachers of yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar was a frail baby in a poor family in India. Born in 1918 during a worldwide flu epidemic, he survived infancy only to struggle with other deadly maladies, including malaria, typhoid and tuberculosis.

  • Veteran music agent Peter Grosslight dead at 68

    A longtime Los Angeles music agent who represented such artists as Whitney Houston, the Eagles, Tom Petty and Journey has died.

  •  
FILE - In this March 10, 1969, file photo taken by Toby Massey, President Richard M. Nixon waves from the doorway of Air Force One in Homestead, Fla. Massey, a photographer and photo editor who directed coverage of many prominent events during his 38-year career with The Associated Press, died Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. He was 80.

    Former AP photo editor Toby Massey dies

    Toby Massey, a photographer and photo editor who directed coverage of presidents and political conventions as well as natural disasters, the space program and sporting events during a 38-year career with The Associated Press, died Thursday. He was 80.

Miami Herald

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category