Cuba, Missouri says good by to long-time trooper and a piece of our history…

Retired Sergeant Woody Aytes poses with some other troopers in front of the Rt. 66 Panel at the History at the 4-Way mural.

In 2001, Retired Sergeant Woody Aytes posed with troopers in front of the Highway Patrol panel that honored the 75th anniversary of the Highway Patrol in Missouri.

Sergeant Woody Aytes posing in front of the Rt. 66 mural that featured a vintage patrol car with number 85 on the license plate.

Retired Sergeant Woody Aytes posing in front of the Route 66 mural that featured a vintage Missouri Highway Patrol car with number 85 on the license plate. Aytes, a long time Cuba trooper drove such a car, and 85 was his badge and license number.

With the passing of retired Sergeant Woody Aytes, Cuba, MO lost an active community member, family man, and long-time area Highway Patrol Officer, who was a part of Viva Cuba‘s mural history.

In 2007, one of the panels of the History at the 4-Way murals on the restored 1931 Phillips 66 station featured a vintage Highway Patrol car, such as the one Sergeant Aytes drove in his early tours of duty. Missouri artist Ray Harvey painted a number 85, the license number of Sergeant Aytes, on the licence plate of the car, to commemorate Atyes contribution to the Highway Patrol in Cuba. The mural also commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Missouri Highway Patrol.

The Wallis family that owns the restored station on Route 66, was also honoring their husband and father Bill Wallis, who had passed away in 2001, in other mural panels on the station. Wallis had been a long-time supporter of the Missouri Highway Patrol and the patrol’s Missouri MASTERS program that aided the families of troopers who died in service. Wallis had also been a longtime friend of Aytes.

At the dedication of the mural in April of 2007, troopers gathered to participate in the ceremonies.  The Missouri Highway Patrol also sent a vintage patrol car similar to the one Aytes use to drive as an addition to the mural signing and dedication ceremony.

Aytes drove a patrol car similar to the one in the mural panel.

Aytes drove a patrol car with the old-style fins similar to the one in the mural panel.

Aytes also wore the older style uniform at one time.

Aytes also wore the older style uniform at one time.

With Aytes’ passing in December, 2009,  the Highway Patrol lost one of its own. During his funeral services at the Cuba Methodist Church, troopers and law enforcement officers came from all over the state to honor his passing and to speak of him as a role model  and mentor to other patrol during his years of service. The blue clad patrol that filled the church’s choir loft added to the pageantry of the services. The warm words of his fellow officers and friends attested to a life well-lived.  Highway Patrol members lined the walk as Aytes’ casket left the church.

In the procession to the cemetery, Sergeant Mark Ward drove the lead car which had Aytes’ highway patrol plates on it. Highway Patrol Communications Officer Roger Heard was flown in from St. Joe to play the bagpipes during the ceremony. Retired Cuba Band Director Stan Moore played  taps, and the Patrol performed a 21 gun salute to mark Aytes’ passing.

Sergeant Aytes will be remembered for his warmth, professionalism, and for the role that he played in the community.

Troopers lined the walk as Sergeant Aytes' casket left the church.

Troopers lined the walk as Sergeant Aytes' casket left the church.

The Missouri MASTERS, or the Missouri Association of State Troopers Emergency Relief Society, was formed in 1979 to be a fund for the financial aid of a trooper’s immediate surviving family member and children if the trooper is killed in the line of duty. The MASTERS was one of the organizations that the Aytes family designated for memorials.

An obituary of Sergeant Aytes appeared in the December 10, 2009 Cuba Free Press.

Retired Sergeant Woody Aytes received a final good by from the Missouri Highway Patrol.

Retired Sergeant Woody Aytes received a final good-by from the Missouri Highway Patrol. Jenny Gross photo

Number 85

Number 85

History of the 4-Way Panels Route 66 Cuba, MO

History of the 4-Way Mural Panels Route 66 Cuba, MO

4 responses to “Cuba, Missouri says good by to long-time trooper and a piece of our history…”

  1. Eddie and Brenda Porter says:

    I knew Woody for many years. I have sat with “my feet under the same table” as Rosella and Woody and I have enjoyed their unique ability to make friends with everyone who had the priviledge to meet them.

    Woody served with honor, pride, and loyalty. He was a gentleman who enforced the law. There have been some that wore that patch without really realizing what it meant. Woody was what it meant.

    I will miss kidding with Woody and I will miss him at the occasional MoSTA get togethers. I will look forward to seeing Rosella again and sharing ol’ memories of the “good ol’ days”.

    I go thru Cuba on occasion and I have always enjoyed seeing the “Badge 85” on the MSHP Patrol car on the mural. It brings up fond memories of the days on the MoSTA Board enjoying Woody at his best.

    Eddie (Lee) Porter
    Retired Badge 711
    Holts Summit,Mo

  2. Christi (Long) Morrissey says:

    I come from a growing up family of the highway patrol families. My Dad and Mom were D.J. Long and Norma Long. Originating from the boot heel of Missouri, to Republic and Rolla. Throughout my growing years our family visited with other patrol families. Some names and close friends were Dale and Mick Crites, Gary and Nancy Whitner, and Woody and Rosella Aytes. These families and so many others served as role models of dedicated law enforcement men, families committed to each other and all served as active community members.
    I thank them for direction and wonderful growing up years!

  3. jane says:

    Rosella and Woody use to host the area patrol families and their children at get-togethers at their house.

  4. […] 4. The  restored 1931 Phillips 66 Station at junction of Hwy. 19 and Rt. 66: See “Cuba MO says good by to a long-time trooper and a piece of our history.” […]

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