All of the staff and volunteers at Historic Odessa know Jeff Pyle! On any given day he is easily identified wearing a tricorn hat during a school tour or one of his many baseball caps.
But did you know that Jeff was born in January of 1946, at the very beginning of the baby boom era. This past January saw his seventieth birthday. Born the second child of four siblings Jeff grew up in Wilmington, Delaware. He first lived with his family in the city and later moved to the northern suburbs of Brandywine Hundred.
Jeff seems to have boundless energy and has always kept himself busy -- first as a paper boy, delivering over 300 papers on his route! He started making those deliveries by bicycle and later graduated to a car. Jeff worked through high school and college at a local pharmacy to assist with his college expenses. When he was 11 years old he joined the Boy Scouts of America and worked his way up to Eagle Scout. He is a lifetime Scout, and after a fifty year association, he only recently stopped working with Troop #19, located in Wilmington. Jeff’s son, Jamie, and his grandson Ryan, have followed in his footsteps. Both are active in scouting and both have attained Eagle Scout. When Jeff makes a commitment he is clearly dedicated -- with his wife Carla, he worked and volunteered at Rodney Scout Reservation in North East, MD every summer for the first 17 years after their marriage in 1969!
Jeff graduated from Mount Pleasant High School and then went on the University of Delaware where he received his BS in Elementary Education with an emphasis on History and Social Studies. Jeff continued at Delaware earning his Master's Degree in Educational Leadership and Administration. With the exception of a two year service in the U.S. Army and several years as an administrator, he spent thirty five years teaching 8th graders at Shue-Medill Middle School in Newark, DE. Coincidentally, he taught for many of those years with HOF Curator of Education, Johnnye Baker, also a US History teacher at the same school!
When Jeff retired from teaching, he and his wife Carla moved to Odessa where they now live on Main St. in the historic Davis Store. Carla determined that Jeff not become a couch potato got him involved with Historic Odessa where she worked as an interpreter and now serves as HOF Volunteer Coordinator. Jeff became the Foundations Facilities Supervisor in 2005 and humorously refers to himself as the maintenance guy to “This Old House”, times six!
You would think that Jeff has no time for anything else but that isn't the case at all. In his down time he enjoys sailing on the Chesapeake Bay in the family sailboat Wings. Jeff also likes to read and spend time with his family, especially his grandchildren Ryan and Erin. He also volunteers as both a school program and regular tour guide for the Historic Odessa Foundation. It is Jeff’s spirit and generosity of time that helps to make our museum more successful.
The next time you see Jeff around Historic Odessa, stop and say a few words of thanks to him. Get to know him just a little better, you will be very glad you did.