A business woman before most women hit the working world, Toni Ryser left her mark on both the local and national business world.
Ryser passed away after a long illness on Sept. 2 with a private memorial service on Monday.
She was the founder of Ryser's Inc. in 1969, a business that grew to serve thousands over its history that continues today. Health issues resulted in her retirement from the business in 2012, although the family owned business remains one of the few in the area today.
Ryser was remembered by many in the community.
London attorney and businessman Baxter Bledsoe became acquainted with Ryser and her family's business and utilized her style and skill in decorating and furnishing homes.
"Miss Toni - she was a super business lady and person for whom I have the utmost respect," Bledsoe said. "She decorated my house the first time in the late 70s."
Bledsoe said the Ryser family, under Toni's leadership, continued to assist him in both home and office renovations.
"She helped with my home and office decorations several times, since 1975," he added. "Anybody who got to know Toni would know she was a lady and a crackerjack business woman."
While family members mourned the loss of the matriarch of the Ryser family, Donevon Storm wrote his own memories of his wife's grandmother in a touching tribute.
"She was the epitome of class and elegance from the first time I met her," Storm wrote. "She was so many things here on Earth - entrepreneur, mother, grandmother, wife, an amazing cook, an amazing storyteller, wise, humble, unassuming, always - and I mean always - in a good mood with a smile on her face. Toni always cheered up the room because she was grateful for everything she had. Her health, her family, God's provision - but most importantly, Toni was grateful for her salvation and her relationship with Jesus. Grateful people are never sad people and Toni was grateful for everything God provided for her and that's why he blessed her immeasurably. In turn, she blessed all those around her.
"What a pleasure to know her for all these years and Earth will truly miss her," his tribute continued. "She is receiving her reward now in Heaven and if she could give us any advice on how to live like her, she would say, "Be grateful for every blessing God has given you, but most of all be grateful that He sent His son to die for all of our sins."
"You served everyone here for so long, Toni. Now enjoy your rest and make sure all those accessories are immaculately placed!"