RYE, N.Y. – Doris Delfosse, 86, a Rye native and longtime teacher, died Friday, March 20, at the Bailey Hospice Center in St. Augustine, Fla.
Born Doris Emily Ferris into the extended Ferris family of Rye, she grew up living on Forest Avenue across from the Rye Town Park.
After her marriage to Joseph Delfosse and living in California for about 13 years, the family moved back to Rye, settling in a house almost directly behind her childhood home so it would a quick walk “through the fence” to visit her aging parents.
Her father, Henry, was born in Rye, and was a member of the first class to attend Milton School. Delfosse, and later her children, also attended Milton School where she subsequently taught first-grade. She lived on the street named after her great uncle, Henry Halsted.
She graduated from Rye High School and SUNY New Paltz with a degree in education and received her master’s degree in learning disabilities from Long Beach State Teachers College in California. She taught first-grade in Rye for more than 35 years at Milton, Osborn and Midland elementary schools.
She served as president of the Rye Teachers Association, and as a teacher was well known for her annual Thanksgiving feast.
Each year, the first-grade classes would make a pilgrimage to Disbrow Park for a reenactment of the Thanksgiving feast and visit the old Milton Road cemetery to create grave rubbings of Rye’s first settlers, while dressed in pilgrim attire. Every day, following the morning pledge of allegiance, she played patriotic and American folksongs on her classroom piano for the first grade classes. She enjoyed learning about and sharing American history and proudly served as the regent of the Ruth Lyon Bush chapter of the Rye-Port Chester DAR.
Active in the Rye Historical Society’s Square House summer programs, she taught early American homemaking skills, carding and spinning wool, knitting, music, sewing and churning butter.
A lifelong member of the Rye Presbyterian Church, she was a deacon, sang in the choir, played in the bell choir, taught Sunday school and served on the Christian Education committee.
After retiring, she contributed a weekly column to the local Rye paper “Growing Up in Rye in the ‘30s and ‘40s” and wrote about Rye during the depression and World War II.
She is survived by her children and their families: Rick of Norwalk Conn.; Duane (and Betsy Hulit Delfosse) of Windham N.H.; and Elizabeth (Tish) Delfosse Candido (and Ademir Candido) of St. Augustine, Fla. She is also survived by four grandchildren.
She was predeceased by her husband, Joseph, two sisters and a brother.
A celebration of her life will be held at the Rye Presbyterian Church Saturday, May 30, at 10 a.m., followed by interment at the Greenwood Union Cemetery and reception at the family home.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Rye Historical Society, 1 Purchase St., Rye, NY 10580.