Shirley Pahl was the face of the Cherokee County Farm Bureau for the past 30 years, making sure residents understood the importance of agriculture to our community and economy.
Pahl recently retired from the Farm Bureau, where, as program coordinator, she helped schoolchildren see that there is a bright future in the agricultural industry — through the fun and rewarding Agriculture in the Classroom initiative.
“It has been an absolute blessing to work at the Farm Bureau for 30 years. I have made so many friendships and relationships. It was fun to go to work every day,” Pahl said. “I have loved working with the children in the garden and in the classroom, and with seniors, as well. Being able to work with so many people has been amazing. I couldn’t have asked for 30 better years.”
She also helped elected officials grasp the importance of farming to Cherokee County — as well as to act in their roles as leaders and policy setters to promote agriculture — by holding legislative breakfasts and candidate forums, and by providing legislative updates.
On Feb. 23, the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners honored her with a proclamation for her work. She also was honored at a reception in January, with a resolution from the Georgia General Assembly and a proclamation from the city of Canton.
“We are pleased to honor Shirley Pahl for her work in our community, educating us about the importance of agriculture to our economy and helping make Cherokee County a great place to live, work and play,” Commission Chairman Harry Johnston said.
Prior to joining the Farm Bureau, Pahl worked for 22 years at the Cherokee Training Center, providing services to those in Cherokee County who are developmentally disabled or have special needs. While there, Pahl, along with Director Mary Hall and Beverly Pitts, started the Special Olympics in Cherokee County, with just five athletes. Now, the Special Olympics has around 1,000 participants in Cherokee County each year.
Pahl was a member of the Service League of Cherokee County for 10 years, as well as the League’s president in 1985, its 50th anniversary year. During her year as president, the League began work on the cookbook “League Legacy” and on the Riverfest Arts and Crafts Festival, the organization’s biggest annual fundraiser.
In her spare time over the years, Pahl served as president of the Canton Jaycettes, was in the Rotary Club of Canton and was on the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce board of directors. She also volunteered with the American Cancer Society and with A Day for Reinhardt.
Pahl has been a member of Canton First Baptist Church since moving to Cherokee County in 1969, taught the children’s Sunday school class in the 1970s, and was the teacher for adults with disabilities for many years. “I will continue to attend First Baptist Church and thank Jesus for all the blessings for my 79 years,” she said.
In retirement, Pahl continues serving others and looks forward to traveling with her husband, Horace. She volunteers by helping raise funds for InCommunity, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit headquartered in Atlanta that provides community-based services and support to people with developmental disabilities and their families. Currently, she is working on the nonprofit’s 34th annual gala, to be held at the Georgia Aquarium May 20. Pahl also has joined the Hickory Flat Optimist Club and is planning to volunteer with the Farm Bureau.
– Rebecca Johnston is a Cherokee County native, with more than 35 years of experience as a community journalist. She served 10 years in the Service League of Cherokee County, 1982-92, and now is an honorary member.