Santa Fe Living Treasures ‚Äď Elder Stories
THE FIRST LADY OF OPERA
Honored January, 1985
Katherine 'Peach' Mayer
Philanthropist, arts patron and political activist, Katherine "Peach" Mayer acquired the name Peach as a child when her family doctor insisted that Katherine had "cheeks like a peach."
Peach was born in 1905 to George and Berta Van Stone. Her father came to Santa Fe in 1896, seeking a climate that would help him recover from a pulmonary ailment.
When Peach and her brother, Tom, were small children, the Van Stones moved to Estancia, New Mexico, where her father owned a store and raised sheep. Music highlighted the family's evenings; George played the violin, and Berta the piano. The Van Stones returned to Santa Fe in 1912, the year New Mexico became a state, when George was elected state corporation commissioner. George died in 1914. Berta taught piano lessons and worked as curator of the Museum of Fine Arts to support her children.