Deborah A. Kiser

FLY CREEK – Deborah A. Kiser, who will be fondly remembered for her years as an elementary school teacher with the Cooperstown Central School District, entered into eternal rest following a valiant battle with cancer Sunday morning, December 10, 2023, at her home in Fly Creek with family by her side. She was 68 years old. 

Born in Goshen, Debbie was one of five children of Ralph Michael “Mickey” and Carma Marye (Perrego) Ryan, who passed in 2017 and 2009 respectively.  

As a young child, Debbie and her family moved to Milford and lived on their family dairy farm on the Hinman Hollow Road. After graduating from Milford Central School with the Class of 1973, she attended SUNY Oneonta, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. 

On June 5, 1976, Debbie married the love of her life, Kenneth David Kiser, in a ceremony at St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake” Roman Catholic Church in Cooperstown.  Kenny, who was also a member of the Milford Central School Class of 1973, and Debbie shared twenty-nine fun-filled years together until his untimely passing November 1, 2005. 

Debbie was one of those lucky people who found work right out of college. As a student teacher in 1976, she student-taught Don Howard’s eighth-grade social studies class, and was hired to teach at the Hartwick Grade Center that fall, which was also the last year that building served as a school. It was then that she came to teach with the Cooperstown Central School District, where she stayed until retiring in 2011. Debbie once stated, “teaching was my career and my hobby. It was my life.”

Throughout the years she taught several grade levels, including second grade, fifth and sixth grade language arts and fourth, fifth and sixth grade social studies. She especially enjoyed the different ages of the students she taught and was surrounded by, stating that they were all great in different ways. Teaching a unit and then seeing how students learned was always gratifying to her, and she enjoyed seeing the projects students created. Her favorite was the travel brochure project the fifth-graders created. When teaching the younger grades she loved the plays and the Friday morning get-togethers with Mr. Thorn playing the piano and all the students singing their hearts out with the music. She also appreciated the part of the school day where a book was read out loud; she felt the sharing of the story created such community within the room. Perhaps her favorite memento from her years of teaching was a quilt created for her one year by the second graders. 

At various times in Debbie’s life, she overcame challenges, but always came out on the other side in a positive way. She once said, “As the song goes…there are always mountains to climb. Not every day is easy, but over a lifetime you only remember the good moments.”

Throughout her life, Debbie was a devoted and faithful communicant of St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake” Roman Catholic Church in Cooperstown. She was also a member of the original Board of Directors of the Cooperstown Foundation for Excellence in Education. 

Debbie is survived by her two sons, Christopher Ryan Kiser and wife, Melissa of Cortland and Michael Paul Kiser of Florida; a grandson, Bentley Kiser; and her siblings, Patrick Ryan and wife, Chris of Campbell Hall, Michael Ryan and wife, Chris of Pawleys Island, South Carolina, Sandra Strong and husband, Mike of Milford and Kelly Liner and husband, Tom of Milford, and their families. 

In addition to her wonderful and supportive family, Debbie has been blessed with an amazing group of friends who also supported her through her journey with cancer.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 3 p.m. Friday, December 15, 2023, at St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake” Roman Catholic Church in Cooperstown, with Fr. Michael Cambi, pastor officiating. She will be laid to rest alongside Kenny in Fly Creek Valley Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers, donations in Debbie’s memory may be made to the Cooperstown Foundation for Excellence in Education to support the foundation’s growth, honor Debbie’s dedication to education and support the students’ enrichment at Cooperstown Central School. Checks may be made to “CFEE” with “In Debbie’s Memory” on the memo line, and mailed c/o Cooperstown Central School, 39 Linden Avenue, Cooperstown, NY  13326. 

Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.

If you would like to send condolences to the family, send an email to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth. We will forward your comments to the family. If you would like to send flowers in memory of the deceased, contact Mohican Flowers at (607) 547-8822, or A Rose is a Rose at (607) 264-3100.