Wilma Jean Pyle, 87, retired professor of education, died at home in Lake Wales, Fla., on Aug. 26, 2013.
The family mourning her passing includes a dear cousin, Linda Pruitt of Muncie, Ind., and six lifelong friends, Dorthy A. Wedge and Mary Lou Kachmarchik of Lake Wales, Phyllis E. Dorman of Gainesville, Fla., Nadia Sefein Goeller of Fairport, N.Y. and Kathy and Don Rich of Sheridan, N.Y.
Dr. Pyle was educated at Ball State University, Ohio State University and Wayne State University. Her fields of expertise included Children’s Literature, Curriculum Development, Language Arts, Reading K-6, Child Growth and Development, and Administration and Supervision.
After 43 years of teaching, 31 of them in higher education, Dr. Pyle retired as Professor of Education, Associate Dean and Director of Doctoral Studies at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla. Prior to that she held leadership positions at State University State College, Fredonia, N.Y. and Mercy College in Detroit, Mich. From 1966-1976 she worked as an author on a unique reading program with Scott, Foresman Publishing Company. The first 12 years of her career, Dr. Pyle worked in elementary schools gaining experience as an elementary school principal, a classroom teacher and a music teacher. In retirement, Dr. Pyle played a leadership role in the Lake Wales Branch of AAUW and was on the Board of Florida Bipartisan’s Civic Affairs Group in Polk County, Fla.
Dr. Pyle received many accolades over the years. In 1974 she was named outstanding alumni at Ball State University. In 1979 she was given an Outstanding Alumni Award from the College of Education, Ohio State University. She is listed in a number of Who’s Who Directories. She was a member of Phi Delta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Delta Pi and the National Honor Society.
Wilma was a vibrant person who loved life. She believed that every experience you chose to explore made you a stronger teacher. So, in the summer, if you were not going to graduate school, you did something interesting. One summer she drove a taxi. Another summer she learned to fly. Then there was a summer she learned to ride a motorcycle and the President of her University told her it was not ladylike and professorial. No matter, one must remain true to one’s self. Wilma was an excellent role model, especially for young women. Her contribution to her students was immeasurable.
The family wishes to thank Hospice for the excellent help they provided in our time of need. Donations in Wilma’s memory can be made to: The Good Shepherd Hospice, 1110 Hammock Road, Sebring, FL 33870; or to the Humane Society of Polk County, 555 Sage Road, Winter Haven, FL 33881. Memorial Services have not yet been planned.