Dec. 11, 1924 — Dec. 21, 2018
Alfred Anthony Aya Jr., a retired Army major, passed away on Dec. 21, 2018 at the age of 94.
He was born on Dec. 11, 1924 in Portland, Oregon, a descendant of the pioneer Honeyman Hardware family. A 1943 graduate of the Gabel Country Day School, he began his military career when he joined the Army in June 1943 at the age of 18. After World War II, he entered Stanford University, graduating with a degree in philosophy in 1950. Following graduation, he was recalled to active duty and stationed in Stuttgart, Germany, during the post-World War II Allied occupation of Germany.
In 1953, he moved to San Francisco, where he continued to serve in the Army Reserve and began his career as a researcher and statistician for the Pacific Bell Telephone Co. He retired from the Army in 1968 at the rank of major, and from Pacific Bell in 1984, when he moved to Cannon Beach, Oregon.
In Oregon, he was elected to the board of the Cannon Beach Rural Fire Protection District, for many years serving as chairman. One of many significant accomplishments during his active retirement was spearheading the design and installation of the Community Warning System (COWS) for tsunami threats, the first of its kind in the United States and a model for other coastal warning systems. He was known worldwide for his research and knowledge about tsunamis.
Al, as he was known to all, will be remembered for his remarkable storytelling skills, mechanical aptitude, prolific letter-writing, world-class pranks and boundless curiosity. But to those who knew him well, Al will be most remembered as a man of deep Christian faith, whose friendship and generosity knew no bounds.
He is survived by his sister, Barbara Aya Wilkins, 103, of Vacaville, California, and sister-in-law, Kay Aya, of Seaside. He was preceded in death by his brother, Roderick Honeyman Aya, and parents, Alfred Anthony Aya and Grace Honeyman Aya. He is also survived by his lifelong friends, Phil and Mary Hawley, of Los Angeles, Dinda Hawley Mills, of Portland, and Cleve Rooper, of Cannon Beach; and by his many adopted nieces and nephews, whose lives he enriched with his ever-present enthusiasm, humor and kindness.
A funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 a.m on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019 at St. Peter the Fisherman, 79441 U.S. Highway 101, Arch Cape, Oregon. A reception honoring Al will follow the Mass. Private interment is at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Portland.