Candie Ryser

RYSER, CANDIE, Thornton Park Loses Their "Swiss Miss". Ryser, 43, of Orlando, FL, affectionately known as "Swiss Miss," passed away unexpectedly in her sleep on November 30, 2012. Ryser was the proprietor of Sam Snead's Tavern in Downtown Orlando from 1999 to 2008. The restaurant was one of the most prominent establishments around Lake Eola and soon became the place for power lunches, networking and happy hours. Thanks to Ryser's charm and ability to make everyone feel at home, Sam Snead's became the "Cheers" of Downtown Orlando-a place where the owner knew everyone's name. Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Ryser was a resident of Thornton Park for the past 18 years. Those who worked or lived in downtown knew and loved Candie for her vibrant energy, quick wit and boisterous sense of humor. With her fashionable hats, and her Huskie, "Buddy," who just celebrated his 14th birthday last week, she was a constant fixture on the streets of Thornton Park. In 2004, Ryser successfully led a group of Thornton Park restaurants and residents in an effort to allow dogs to dine on outdoor patios with their owners. As a result, her restaurant, with a large patio overlooking the lake, won a loyal following among dog owners. It offered meals from kibble to tenderloin served on a Frisbee. "It's really a great thing for the economy in downtown Orlando," Ryser said at the time. "People get very serious about this, because they look at a pet as their child." After a tireless two-year campaign of signing petitions and lobbying city and state officials, Ryser claimed victory when then Governor Jeb Bush, fresh from legislative battles about class sizes and school vouchers, came to Sam Snead's for a ceremony to deal with another weighty issue: allowing dogs to dine at restaurants. Surrounded by Candie, Buddy and a group of yapping dogs, Bush signed the "Doggie Dining" bill into law, which allowed cities to grant permission to restaurant owners who wanted to open their patio dining rooms to four-legged customers. The event drew national coverage on Good Morning America. Ryser is survived by her father, Carlo Ryser, her boyfriend John Roth, and hundreds of friends who loved her dearly. Candie will be laid to rest in Zurich, Switzerland next to her mother, Sonja Ryser, who passed away in 1993. A Celebration of Life memorial will be held Friday, Dec. 7, from 8:30 PM to 11:30 PM at The Abbey, 100 S. Eola Avenue, Orlando, 32801. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to, a foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness.

Published in the Orlando Sentinel on Dec. 7, 2012