Doris Peyser was born March 21, 1920, in New York City, NY, the daughter of Carl and Charlotte (Pfeiffer) Beecher. She married Jesse Peyser, who worked for the May Company as a cosmetics buyer. In 1950, he was transferred to Cleveland OH, so off to Ohio they went. Doris was a first grade teacher for 30 years in Pepper Pike, OH, on the east side of Cleveland. She and Jesse were very active in the local theatre, orchestra and many social activities, including the Elyssium Skating Club in Cleveland. That is where Doris was first introduced to skiing in 1958. Doris went on a ski trip with several friends from the Skating Club to Aspen CO.
After returning home from Aspen, that same winter she decided to look into coming to Ellicottville and skiing at the brand new Holiday Valley ski resort. For two years Doris and Jesse and family rented rooms at the the Holiday Valley Motel – sometimes coming just herself with the kids to ski.
In the summer of 1960, they put an ad in the Ellicottville Post for a room for rent, and received a letter from Mrs. Meineke, $75 for the winter months, and $35 for the summer months. They rented initially, and ended up buying that same house, 67 Elizabeth Street, in 1962, spending as much time here as possible. (Next door to John Burrell’s grandmother’s home originally.)
While living in Cleveland, the Peysers’ were very involved with the Cleveland Ski Fair, which funded the US Ski Team at that time. Doris was the Cleveland Ski Queen in 1964.
After Doris’ husband passed away, she continued teaching for a few more years until her retirement in 1977, when she moved to Ellicottville permanently. She was a member of the Ellicottville Ski Club, the Alley Katz, the Book Club, and a board member of the Ellicottville Arts Appreciation Association, where she helped organize jazz concerts, volunteer opportunities and fundraisers. She was also involved with the Arboretum at the Cooperative Extension in Ellicottville, helping Mr. Ploetz with the creation. Doris was an avid reader, held a Masters in Education, and loved doing the NY Times crossword puzzles in pen! She was also on the Ellicottville ZBA, and worked with the creators of E’ville Events publication.
The Winter Canival was another event she loved. She and Jesse ran the event at Holiday Valley for years, and were instrumental in creating many memories for all participants. She also worked with Mike Kerns Sr on the downtown Mardi Gras parade.
Doris was an avid gardener, and transplanted her peonies and forsythia from Cleveland to Ellicottville when she moved here.
Doris also loved to golf, and went out on the course most every morning with her friends. They had a “ladies’ agreement” that “if we didn’t hit the ball after ten swings, we’d have a hearty laugh and move on to the next hole”, according to her dear friend Lois Siggelkow.
Doris’ favorite run at Holiday Valley was Independence. Her family called her a “cautious expert”. She, like many moms, spent a lot of time getting the family taken care of before, during and after skiing, so she didn’t always have a lot of time for herself on the slopes.
Doris passed away Sunday August 12, 2012. She was a gracious lady to all of the people who knew her here in Ellicottville, and the friends she left behind in Cleveland. One of her favorite recipes from the cookbook she put together for the EAAA is show below, a fitting way to always remember her. Memorials may be made to the Arboretum and the Almost Home Animan Sanctuary.
by Doris Peyser
2 egg whites
1 lb pecan halves
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Mix pecans with unbeaten egg whites. Combine sugar and cinnamon and pour over pecans. Mix well. Spread out on a large buttered sheet. Bake at 225 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn over with a spatula and bake 5 more minutes. Cool. Remove with spatula. May be frozen if container is tightly sealed.