Editorial: Dr. Alan Ayer

Few people touch the lives of families as directly as do obstetricians, and Dr. Alan Ayer literally touched the lives of thousands of families during his 36-year-career in Middlebury while delivering more than 6,000 babies. For almost all of those years, he worked with his founding partner, Dr. James “Chip” Malcolm, at Addison Associates in Obstetrics and Gynecology, a practice they jointly established in 1980. They were the duo, along with their accomplished staff, that almost every young family in the greater Middlebury area during the next 35 years soon got to know, trust and admire.
Ayer, 71, died suddenly this past Friday of a heart attack. Shock waves throughout the county reflect the sadness of losing someone who was so widely known and loved for his skill, work ethic, keen sense of humor and community consciousness.
“He was an incredible teacher and mentor,” said Dr. Kate Wagner, chief of the obstetrics-gynecology department at Porter Hospital, in a story in today’s Addison Independent. “He was one of the smartest guys I ever met. He was one of those people you’d want to get a bear hug from, or give one to.”
Such closeness, reverence even, is at the heart of small town life. Community leaders like Dr. Ayer become part of the fabric of our communities, woven together by friendships and acquaintences, skilled professionals and mechanics, fitness trainers and grocery store clerks, teachers and artists, contractors and and those we may barely know, yet count on to do their part in this collective whole. He stood out among them not only because he touched so many people directly, but in a personal way that made a lastly impression.
 “It’s mind-boggling what he has done for this county and this community,” said Registered Nurse JoAnn Madison, who had served with Ayer since the practice opened. “You can’t say enough wonderful things about that man.”
He’ll be sorely missed, and Addison County will always be richer because of his presence.
Angelo S. Lynn
Read the obituary for Alan Ayer here.

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