Mario Benny Pecile passed through Heaven's gates on January 6th, 2018, due to complications of pneumonia. In his last days, Mario came home to family with many friends visiting.
He was born April 20th, 1939, to Mario and Jean (Trancucci) Pecile in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. He graduated in 1956 from Hazleton High School. Mario was an avid athlete in basketball and baseball. After graduation, he worked in a textile business while continuing in local basketball games to the fullest extent possible. His cooperative attitude and work ethic made him popular among friends and work colleagues, though his obsession with maintaining a proper physical weight could drive one to distraction. Mario's favorite leisure spot was the Korner Koffee Shop where he was frequently involved in discourse about sports trivia or local politics. He was a devoted fan of the New York Yankees and Boston Celtics
In 1963 Mario migrated to California to attend College of Sequoias in Visalia, CA. While there he earned a basketball scholarship to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He graduated from Cal Poly in 1966 with a degree in Kinesiolgy. Mario's teaching and coaching career began in Templeton. From 1966 - 1968 he taught physical education and coached basketball at Templeton High School. In 1968 he married Marie Webster. They settled in Santa Maria. He was shortly thereafter hired on as a Physical Education teacher and Basketball coach at Arroyo Grande High School. Three children were born to them Marco (1974), Michael and Melinda (1977).
Mario was a relentless competitor. He coached boy's varsity basketball at Arroyo Grande High School from 1968 to the late 1980s. At that time the gym was nicknamed “Mario's Madhouse.” He coached with passion, discipline and clarity. During his first year at AG he coached the basketball team to their first championship game at the Sports Arena. His players and students have kept up with him throughout the years. Many have 'Mario Memories' that showed his commitment to teaching. One such memory was at lunchtime he would play basketball with students and faculty. Mario would not let the game end until his team won. Even if it meant going a little past lunchtime to finish the game.
He was a highly respected coach among his peers on the Central Coast. He was sought after as a presenter at basketball clinics throughout the area.
Mario practiced what he taught in Physical Education by riding his bike nearly every day from Santa Maria to Arroyo Grande High School. It is estimated he rode nearly 250,000 miles between 1988 - 2011. During retirement he could be seen riding his bike around town. One of the first places he stopped was at First Baptist Church. He changed the front sign everyday for over 20 years. Mario's faith in God came first in his life. He acted out his faith everyday by touching the lives of students and people in the community. His favorite Bible verse was Hebrews 12:1, “and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”. He also had the book of Proverbs memorized.
In his family life he was a giving father and loving husband. He spent countless hours taking his children to the park, bike rides and shooting around on basketball courts.
Mario leaves behind his son Marco and his grandchildren Max, Gianna, Helina, Laurenza and Vito; son Michael; Kim (Marie's daughter) and his brother Rinaldo of Kansas City, Kansas. He is preceded in death by his wife Marie and daughter Melinda as well as his parents.
The family invites those whose lives were touched by Mario to a Funeral Service at First Baptist Church (2970 Santa Maria Way), on Monday, January 15th, at 10:00 A.M. A Graveside Service and luncheon will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to First Baptist Church.
Services Have Been Entrusted to the Care of
Lori Family Mortuary
Santa Maria, CA