ST. PETERSBURG - George J. Ayd, a critic of city spending and an early supporter of mayoral candidate Sherman Seaborn, died Sunday (July 9, 1989) at Humana Hospital, St. Petersburg after a heart attack. He was 68. After Seaborn ran third in the mayor's race last Feb. 28, he surprised Mr. Ayd by endorsing Mayor Robert Ulrich for re-election over Dennis McDonald. Seaborn had run on a platform generally perceived as opposing current city policies and had worked with Mr. Ayd and McDonald in a 1987-88 effort to recall Ulrich and the eight-member City Council. "George wasn't happy about it," Seaborn said Monday. "He didn't understand the circumstances."
But the political decision did not rupture a friendship he and Mr. Ayd enjoyed, Seaborn said. "We never parted friendship in any way," Seaborn said. "In fact, George was quite friendly after that. George and I had never had a problem. George Ayd was a gentle-spirted type of person," Seaborn said. "It was not in his character to be offensive to anyone or to speak with any malice."
Politics was a new game to Mr. Ayd, who was born in Baltimore and worked there for Allstate Insurance Co. The company transferred him in 1958 to St. Petersburg, and he was its regional claims manager before retiring in 1982. He got interested in the city's affairs when a neighbor, unhappy over taxes, invited him to attend a city budget meeting, Seaborn recalled. The neighbor wanted Mr. Ayd to get up and speak, but Mr. Ayd declined, saying he didn't understand the budget. That didn't last long. He began studying, and before he was through, he had the figures down pretty good with the city budget," Seaborn said, "and people wanted to hear him speak."
Seaborn, now the president of the Pinellas Point Civic Association, said that in January 1987, he went to hear Mr. Ayd at the civic association and that the two men struck up a friendship. When Seaborn looked into running for mayor, "George was instrumental in getting some other volunteers to push the campaign," he said.
Mr. Ayd, who lived at 3200 Sunset Drive N, was a member of Holy Cross Catholic Church, American Legion Madeira Beach Post 273 and CONA. During World War II, he served in the Army. Survivors include his wife, Helen; two sons, George J. Jr., Hawthorne Woods, Ill., and Robert J., St. Petersburg; five daughters, Deborah Conn, St. Charles, Ill., Christine Jakicic, Buffalo Grove, Ill., Karen Hunter, Chicago, and Carol Merkle and Angela, both of St. Petersburg; a brother, John, Baltimore; two sisters, Betty Parks, Pasadena, Md., and Mary Frances, Baltimore; and a granddaughter. Friends may call Wednesday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Gulfport Memorial Funeral Home, 5601 Gulfport Blvd. S. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at Holy Cross Catholic Church. Burial will be in Woodlawn Memory Gardens.
[Available online - Some of the information in this obituary came from a story by Kenneth S. Allen in the St. Petersburg Times.]