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November 13, 1936 ~ January 28, 2024 (age 87) 87 Years Old
Mary Lucile “Cile” Neely Pfahler, 87, passed away on Sunday, January 28, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Cile was born in Houston, Texas, and grew up in Denton, Texas. The family moved briefly to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, where her father and mother ran the local telephone company.
She earned her Bachelor’s degree in French from North Texas State College (now the University of North Texas). During her studies she spent time at the University of Dijon, falling in love with French history and culture as she became proficient in the language. During her senior year, Cile saw an invitation in the local paper to represent the United States as a guide at the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels. She was determined to be chosen as one of the few sent from Texas, and she was selected after an intense interview process. To fund her trip, Cile spoke to civic groups all over the state, bold, determined and eloquent, as always.
Cile moved to Gainesville, Florida to complete her Master’s in French at the University of Florida. After completing her degree, she taught at St. Petersburg Junior College. She later became one of the first faculty members hired for the then-new Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, where she met her future husband, Dr. Paul Pfahler, a professor of agronomy at UF. They remained in Gainesville for all of their 43 years of marriage.
Cile was delighted to be able to step back from her profession for several years in order to raise their two daughters but continued to be involved in education throughout her life, including adjunct work at Santa Fe, teaching French and Spanish at Eastside High School, and tutoring many students in her home even after her official retirement.
She was active in the University Women’s Club, the Daughters of the American Revolution, Colonial Dames of the 17th Century, and the Gainesville Garden Club. She loved to take trips all over the world and meet people from other countries and cultures. In 2018, eight years after Paul’s death, Cile left her home of 51 years to move to Atlanta, Georgia in order to be closer to family.
She was an exemplary wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and cherished friend. She will be remembered for her pride in her Texan heritage, her keen sense of humor, her love of gardening, her devotion to her dachshunds, her passion for France, and her love of travel.
She was predeceased by her husband Dr. Paul Pfahler and her brother John Wilber Neely and is survived by her daughters Diane Cassaro (Daniel) and Beth Radford (Blanton), as well as grandchildren Therese, Luciana, and Claudia Cassaro, and Benjamin and Bridget Radford.
A memorial service will be held in Gainesville, Florida in March. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to your favorite charity in her name.