John Pfeffer peacefully passed away at home Aug. 17, 2017, with his family by his side. He was “Alaskan Made,” born in 1954 to John and Helen Pfeffer.
Due to his father’s work, he had the opportunity to live in many rural Alaskan communities, spending his high school years in Delta Junction, graduating in 1972. He grew up in an Alaska lifestyle of hunting, fishing and subsistence living. He found tremendous joy in Alaska’s wilderness and awe in its beauty and northern lights. One of his favorite views was of the Tanana River and the Alaska Mountain range at Mile 297 on the Richardson Highway.
After high school, he worked up North as a surveyor during the pipeline days. He began his long career with the Alaska as a surveyor, working his way up and retiring in 2011 as a project engineer. Throughout the years, he shared his knowledge and experience with his co-workers and crews, encouraging them to achieve more. He was highly respected, appreciated and admired. “You are one of those rare people that is able to treat everyone fairly and impart knowledge. John, you are a very good person. The infrastructure you constructed and knowledge you passed on will benefit all to come.” Remember folks, “safety first.”
In 1982, he married Janelle and together had two children. In 1991, he met his wife and best friend, Cheryle; they married in 1994. Together, they raised their four children, Kimberly, Dana, Jennifer and Jesse. He was very proud of his children and grandchildren. Through example, he taught them family is first; to love unconditionally; to be happy; to be strong; to find the good in everyone; to forgive and “let it go;” to be proud of who they are; to be fair and compassionate; to help those in need; to work hard; not to quit – “the solution is there, just find it;” to be accountable for all they do; and to have faith and trust in God, for he leads us on the right path.
John is preceded in death by his father, John Pfeffer; granddaughter, Cassandra Puller; sister, Patty Pfeffer; paternal grandparents, Aloysius and Loretta Pfeffer; maternal grandparents, Robert and Alice Munro; mother-in-law, Jennie Lorditch; fathers-in-law, Troy Barnett and Kenneth Champlin; and brother and sister-in-law, Lewis Champlin and Phyllis Castellaw.
He is survived by his wife, Cheryle Pfeffer; daughters, Kimberly Smith (Devon), Dana McCombs (Jamie), Jennifer Baumann (Roger), and son, Jesse Pfeffer; grandchildren, Apryle, Emily, Riley, Darel, Amelia, Ryen, Laura, Nicholas, Sada, Carson, Jayden, and Katelyn; and great-grandchildren, Evalyn, Norah and Theodore; mother, Helen Pfeffer; siblings, Penny Pfeffer, Bob Pfeffer, Mary Schwetz, Loretta Goneau (Kelly), Teresa Parker (Dave), Bill Pfeffer and Jill Yrjana (Mike); mother-in-law, Marie Champlin; brother-in-law, Ken Champlin, and sisters-in-law, Doreen Sutherland (Rodney) and Marylyn Champlin. Also, many nieces, nephews and great-nieces and nephews.\
The family wishes to thank Dr. Boris Naraev, Dr. Philippe Lanauze and team/staff at the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Gilbert, Arizona, for being “all in” with his cancer treatment and care; Dr. Carl Thomas, of Fairbanks, and Dr. Jacqueline Cox and staff at the J. Michael Carroll Cancer in Fairbanks for their supportive care.
A celebration of life with Rosary at 12:30 p.m. and Mass at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, at Immaculate Conception Church in Fairbanks. A reception will be after Mass downstairs in Murphy Hall, so please bring your favorite story or memory to share. He will be laid to rest at Birch Hill Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made in his name to help the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center Neuroendocrine Program provide treatment to patients, or to help support the RV spaces the Cancer Center provides (at no cost) for patients in treatment there. Please send your contribution to: In Memory of John N. Pfeffer, Banner Health Foundation, 2901 N. Central Ave., Ste. 160, Phoenix, AZ 85012.
Arrangements entrusted to Blanchard Family Funeral Home. Online condolences and memories can be made at blanchardfamilyfuneralhome.com