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Antoinette "Toni" Payton-Ryser


1926 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Antoinette "Toni" Payton-Ryser

Reno - Longtime Reno educator Antoinette "Toni" Payton-Ryser passed away peacefully on May 24. She was born Antoinette Shields to Claude and Odie Shields in Miles City, Montana on March 9, 1926, graduated from Custer County High School in 1944, and married Robert Iholts in 1946. They made their home in Oregon and Western Montana where they owned logging trucks.

They had two children, Robert Claude and Marilyn Tracy.

After her husband died in a logging accident in 1957, Toni graduated from the University of Montana where she met and later married Donald Payton.

At that time, Montana did not allow married couples to teach in the same school district, so they searched for a new location to begin their teaching careers and selected Reno where they moved in 1960. For the Washoe County School District, Don taught at various elementary and middle schools and retired in 1991 as principal at Florence Drake Elementary. Toni began teaching at Stead Elementary, then Echo Loder Elementary, the "old" Billinghurst Middle School and retired as the librarian at Pine Middle School in 1984.

Following her teaching career, she entered the business world and became a co-owner of a Century 21 Real Estate office in Reno.

Don passed away in 1996 and Toni then married Dr. Fred "Fritz" Ryser in 2000. They enjoyed travelling extensively in the United States and Europe until his death in 2011.

Toni was active in many organizations including Beta Sigma Phi, Daughters of the American Revolution, the Mayflower Society, Order of Charlemagne, Nevada State Retired Educators Association, Westerners Corral, and a beloved 40-year relationship with her special friends at the Wednesday morning breakfast club at the Gold 'N Silver.

Toni is survived by her son Robert Payton (Alexandra), daughter Marilyn Tracy Robinson; grandchildren Brittany Payton Anderson (Michael), Robert Trep Thompson, Darlyne Miller, and Alaina Busch; and five great grandchildren. She is also survived by her "second" family of Susan Ryser Byars (Mark) and their adult children Christopher, Lyndsey Pitman (Dan), and Alexandra. In addition, Toni is survived by her nephews Lonnie Shields (Anna Mae) and Mel Shields with whom she was very close.

The family would like to extend their sincere appreciation to the staff of Brookdale Northwest Senior Living in Reno and a special "Thank You" to Carol Thompson, her nurse from Kindred Hospice who showed particular kindness and assistance to Toni in her final weeks.

A "Celebration of Life" will be held at Mountain View Mortuary on Monday, June 18 at 1 p.m. A reception will follow at the facility. In lieu of flowers, contributions will be welcome to Toni's favorite cause: St. Labre Indian School, P.O. Box 236, Ashland, Montana 59004.
Published in Reno Gazette-Journal on June 17, 2018
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