Doris Delfosse, a Rye native and teacher, passed away quietly on March 20th at the Bailey Hospice Center in Saint Augustine Florida. She was 86.
Born Doris Emily Ferris into the extended Ferris family of Rye, she grew up living on Forest Ave. across from the Rye Town Park. After her marriage to Joseph Delfosse and living in California for some thirteen years, the family moved back to Rye, settling in a house almost directly behind her childhood home so it would be a quick walk "through the fence" to visit her aging parents. Her father, Henry, was born in Rye, attended elementary school in the little yellow one room schoolhouse on Milton Road, and was a member of the first class to attend Milton School. Doris, and later her children, also attended Milton School where Doris subsequently taught first grade. She proudly lived on the street named after her great-uncle, Henry Halsted.
Doris studied ballet with a master in Manhattan, but a broken ankle ended all dreams of dancing. 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 over 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.
During the summer, when not on one of the family's many cross country car trips, she would tutor privately with children displaying reading and developmental problems. An avid boater, she sailed the family's Herreshoff ketch with her husband Joe from the Rye city marina.
She was the first working woman "allowed" to adopt a child in the state of California in 1966, after proving to the adoption agency and courts that a woman could indeed work and raise a family.
After retiring, she contributed a weekly column to the local Rye paper "Growing Up in Rye in the '30s and '40s" I remember when … and wrote about Rye during the depression and WWII. She also traveled through Europe with Elder Hostel, where on one trip she studied Belgian history in French by morning and toured by afternoon.
Doris is survived by her children and their families, Rick of Norwalk CT, Duane (and Betsy Hulit Delfosse) of Windham NH, and Elizabeth (Tish) Delfosse Candido (and Ademir Candido) of Saint Augustine FL. She is also survived by four grandchildren, Christine Delfosse, Steven Delfosse, Kevin Delfosse and Dr. Natalie Delfosse Godfrey. She was predeceased by her loving husband Joseph, two sisters and a brother.
A celebration of her life will be held at the Rye Presbyterian Church on May 30th at 10:00 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 Street, Rye, NY 10580.
Published in The Journal News on Apr. 12, 2015.