Lewis Haldane Ayre was born on April 22, 1914, in St. John's, the son of Harold C. and Agnes Ayre. Lewis received his early education at the Methodist College in St. John's; Mostyn House Prepatory School in Cheshire, England; and Wrekin College in Shropshire, England.
Returning to Newfoundland in 1931, Lewis began a business career which spanned more than 50 years. Starting at Ayre & Sons Limited, a firm founded in 1859 by his great-grandfather, he was appointed a director of the company in 1942. During the next forty years, as leader of the family business, Lewis transformed Ayre & Sons Limited from a wholesale, mail-order department store operation on Water Street to a successfully diversified business enterprise operating from coast to coast in Canada. Under the guidance of Lewis, Ayre & Sons Limited became a leader on the provincial business scene.
Lewis was actively involved in public service. He was president of the Newfoundland Board of Trade when Newfoundland voted to join Canada and president of the Newfoundland Cancer Society and of the St. John's Curling Club. He was a member of the Board of Regents of Memorial University, the Newfoundland Royal Commission on Education and the Newfoundland Canadian Brier Curling Team. He was the first chairman of the St. John's Transportation Commission, the founding chair of the St. John's Heritage Foundation and a trustee of the Olympic Trust of Canada. In 1981, he was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada.
Lewis Haldane Ayre died in December 1985.