Carlyle Ausley Jr., longtime builder, dies at 87

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Posted July 30, 2021 | By Rosemarie Dowell, Special to the Ocala Gazette

It would be almost impossible to drive around Marion County for even a few minutes without going by a building that Carlyle Ausley Jr. and his company Ausley Construction Co. didn’t build.

In nearly every area of Ocala and the surrounding areas, Ausley’s work is visible in hundreds of buildings, business facilities, churches, schools and homes he built during a career that spanned almost five decades.

Ausley, a fourth-generation Ocala native, died July 21 at Hospice of Marion County. He was 87.

He founded Ausley Construction in 1958, two years after he graduated from the University of Florida, with degrees in construction and civil engineering.

The devout Christian retired more than 15 years ago, allowing his son, Steve Ausley, to purchase the company but not before cementing his legacy as a man driven by full-bore integrity and his faith in all that he did.

“Growing up in Ocala, everyone always told me what kind, wonderful and nice people my parents were,” said Ken Ausley, who joined the family business around the same time his father retired and is now a principal and CEO of Ausley Construction.

“My dad was all that; a man of kindness and goodness whether he was out in public or in private,” he said. “He was an amazing person.”

Ausley said his father, an active member of Grace Presbyterian Church for much of his adult life, built, renovated or expanded at least 50 churches in the area, including First Baptist Church, Trinity Catholic Church and others.

“I think he’d be most proud of that: he was a person of tremendous faith, and it was a driving force in his life,” he said. “He really loved building churches and was considered the go-to contractor for a very long time.”

Ausley Construction also had a hand in building most schools in Marion County.

“My dad’s fingerprints are on 75% of all schools in the county,” he said. “It’s hard to go anywhere in Ocala and not see something he built.”

“He put the top story on City Hall and renovated Silver Springs years ago,” said Ausley. “There are literally hundreds and hundreds of projects that he completed over the years.”

Ausley said his dad grew up under the guidance of his father, Carlyle Ausley Sr., who served as the Marion County Clerk of Court. The senior Ausley, no doubt, had a tremendous influence on the junior’s desire to serve in a multitude of civic organizations and clubs throughout his life.

“My grandfather set an example to serve and do good in the community, and my father emulated that,” said Ausley. “He was on the board of the Boys and Girls Club, was a founding member of the Marion County Builders Association, was a lifelong member of the Kiwanis Club and served as president of numerous others as well.”

“He and my mom went on many mission trips to Haiti too,” he said. “He poured a lot of time and energy into Grace Presbyterian.”

A huge Gator fan, Ausley also loved fishing and hunting, and spending time with his children and grandchildren.

“He loved his family, and it showed in everything he did,” said Ausley.

Lifelong friends, Trusty and Charline Drake, said Ausley was a mountain of a man, who was devoted to his family, friends and faith. Charline Drake said she first met Ausley when they were part of an informal neighborhood kindergarten more than 80 years ago.

“Carlyle and I often laughed about the fact that we met when we were four or five years old,” said Drake.

As they grew up, Drake said Ausley’s faith in God became more and more apparent.

“He was always very strong in his faith and never wavered from it; he was a strong believer,” she said.

Trusty Drake said he and Charline often traveled with Ausley and his first wife, Shirley, and had many gatherings over the years with each other’s families.

“We had fun times and a great rewarding friendship; I’m sad that he passed.”

Now, in its seventh decade of business, Ausley Construction serves the southeast as a major LEED certified commercial construction firm and has an office in Pennsylvania. Two others, Todd Duffy and Dustin Magomoll, are also principals in the firm.

Ken Ausley said his dad may have started the business and forged its well-respected path in the construction industry, but his younger brother, Steve, deserves all the recognition for moving the company forward and expanding it into the company it is today.

“My brother, Steve, is the one that got into the industry and bought the company from my dad,” said Ken Ausley, “The company wouldn’t be where it is today without him.”

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Aug. 2 at First Baptist Church of Ocala, 2801 SE Maricamp Road.

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