Cover photo for Ilse Mayer's Obituary
Ilse Mayer Profile Photo

Ilse Mayer

d. May 31, 2024

Ilse Paula Mayer-Gulz, 84, of Taos, passed away peacefully on May 30, 2024, at her home.

Ilse was born on July 13, 1939, to Margarete Fränkel and Viktor Gulz in Vienna, Austria at the beginning of the second World War. Her childhood was heavily influenced by the war. She left Europe in 1959 and began her life in the US as a biochemist working first in Detroit, then Boston, and San Francisco. On a trip back to Europe in 1961 to visit her family in Vienna, she also visited her older brother Fredi who was chief lift designer and engineer at the Städeli Lift Company in Switzerland, where she met Ernie Blake who was there to buy the first chairlifts for the Taos Ski Valley. Ernie gave her an open invitation to come to Taos. After a few months in San Francisco, she decided to accept Ernie’s offer and arrived at the Ski Valley in November 1961. 

Ilse was introduced to Jean Mayer and immediately began teaching skiing and working at the Hondo Lodge and then at the Hotel St. Bernard, still under construction, where she met Bernard “Dadou” Mayer. Ilse and Dadou were married on November 15, 1962, at the San Francisco de Asís Church in Ranchos de Taos. Together they built and operated the original Hotel Edelweiss in Taos Ski Valley, while raising their family. They divorced in 1988 after 25 years together. After the divorce, Ilse continued as owner and operator of the Edelweiss Chalet at the Ski Valley until selling it in 2020. 

Ilse was an enthusiastic supporter of many arts organization in the Taos area including (but not limited to) the Harwood Museum, the Taos Art Museum at Fechin House, the Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos Center for the Arts, Taos School of Music, Music from Angel Fire, and the Santa Fe Opera. 

She also remained quite physically active: traveling the world, skiing, hiking, and playing tennis and pickleball into her later years.

Ilse is survived by her children Suzanne, Christian, and Sonja (Keith Schreiber), and grandchildren Soleane, Angelina, and Emyline (Christian and Christine), and Leila (Sonja and Keith).

A memorial event will be held on August 3rd or 4th at a location to be determined. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to any of the organizations listed above.

The family of Ilse Paula Mayer-Gulz has entrusted the care of their loved one to DeVargas Funeral Home of Taos. 866-657-4019

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ilse Mayer, please visit our flower store.


Visits: 153

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree