Ilia Mesa Lively passed away peacefully at her residence on Friday, February 28, 2014.
Ilia will be remembered as wonderful, vibrant leader, educator, volunteer, friend, mother, and wife. Throughout her entire life, she worked tirelessly to go above and beyond for family, friends, and students.
When she arrived in the United States from Cuba, at the age of 16, she not only supported her family by working, but enrolled at the University of Florida and completed a Bachelor's (1966) and Master's degree (1967). She continued her quest for knowledge by pursuing a Doctorate from the University of Kentucky, where she met her husband, David.
For her two children, Meredith and Danny, she dedicated all of her time and energy to ensure that they were educated, well cared for, and loved. Encouraging her children to pursue scouting, she served in various capacities in the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and became a trainer in both organizations, earning a Wood Badge, while her son became an Eagle Scout and her daughter received the Gold Award, the highest achievements in Scouting.
When Ilia returned to her love of teaching Spanish at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC, not only did she dedicate herself to educating all students, but she co-authored two textbooks specifically tailored to community college students. When her grandchildren came along, she promptly retired and moved her family 500 miles south to Orlando, FL to enjoy being a doting grandmother.
Her children and grandchildren were the joy of her life, in whom she took great pride. She leaves behind her loving husband David, four nieces, brother Dan (Denise) Mesa and family of Gainesville and sister Nelia Powell and family of Eustis. Her son Danny remains at home with his father. Ilia's daughter Meredith and son-in-law Jay Varner reside in Orlando with her cherished grandchildren, Eli and Killian.
She was predeceased by her parents, Danilo and Rosa Mesa of Gainesville.
During her final weeks, Ilia was surrounded by her family, and was given excellent care by Cornerstone Hospice. Those wishing to remember Ilia are welcome to make donations to Cornerstone Hospice, in lieu of flowers. cshospice.org