Mary Daehler  1

Lebanon resident Mary Daehler recently turned 99. She owned and operated a vacation resort in Florida for 20 years. DALLUS WHITFIELD

Lebanon resident Mary Daehler recently reflected on her life as she turned 99 years old and continues to teach lessons to her family daily. 

Daehler is a native of Swainsboro, Ga., and was born the youngest of five children. She moved to Florida as a child and became the first person in her family to attend college when she attended Georgia State College for Women in Milledgeville, Ga.

From 1957 to the mid-1970s, Daehler owned and operated a vacation resort in Pompano Beach near Ft. Lauderdale named Ocean Ranch Villas.

“That place couldn’t have ran without her,” Daehler’s daughter Susan Hickmann said. 

Hickmann said her mother took control of the resort after her father died. She said Daehler oversaw the entire resort, which included a bar, restaurant and putting greens. 

“She would always throw these big barbecues, putting tournaments, fashion shows or whatever she could to make everybody feel welcome,” Hickmann said. 

Daehler has survived two husbands and said her mother lived until she was 103. She has two children, Jake and Susan, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. 

She moved to Lebanon about 10 years ago and settled on Berea Church Road. 

“It’s been a blessing. I’ve got to meet the family and feel like I’ve been a part of the family,” said Kimberly Franklin, Deahler’s caregiver. “She never fails to say, ‘God bless you,’ every single night.” 

Hickmann said she continues to learn lessons from her mother. 

“Be honest and kind to everybody. Always use proper English and spell it correctly. She’s been on me about that my entire life,” she said. 

Daehler said she has a fascination with birds, with the bluebird taking the top spot at her favorite.

“It’s so pretty,” she said.

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