Ross Herbert Pfeffer
1941 ~ 2018
Ross was born in Dubuque, Iowa, July 23, 1941 to Lois Anna and William Henry Pfeffer. In choosing a name, his father wanted to name his son after a favorite college professor in Iowa – Professor Ross. Granpa Herbert Ferdinand Pfeffer reminded the couple that they had promised to name a boy after him – so they wisely chose the Herbert half, and named their son Ross Herbert Pfeffer. The family owned a restaurant – The Scoreboard, in Dubuque, and as a toddler, Ross spent a good deal of time there.
Seven years later, his sister Penny was born, followed shortly by brother David. The family eventually moved to St. Louis, then Belleville, ILL, Springfield, ILL, Indianapolis, back to Belleville and in his Senior year of High School, they moved to Florissant, Missouri – as Dad Bill followed his career with the Coca-Cola company. Ross graduated from Hazelwood High in 1959, and enrolled in Rolla School of Kines University in Missouri.
During his summers, Ross hired on with Superior Coach – learning how to repair, paint and mend school buses. That knowledge would serve him well for many years of rehabbing cheap cars in the garage!
Ross and Linda met in September 1962 and in October, at Homecoming, he presented her with his Sigma Pi fraternity pin – stating in a not quite sober state of mind, thae “he guessed he might marry her some day!” By November, he presented her with an engagement ring and March 2, of 1963, they were married in Harvester, St. Charles County, MO.
The first year of marriage found them in an 8’X42’ house trailer, painted black, with a wide yellow stripe – rather like a bumble bee. The second year found them in a new apartment and by 1965 they purchased their first house in Florissant, MO. Son James was born in 1966 and son Jonathan in 1969. Rose changed one diaper per child and declared himself Father of the Year! But he also stuck a feather in his hair to be an Indian Guide father and became a Boy Scout dad for a few years, too. He built campfires and survived sleeping in tents in the snow!
Ross was a man of “excesses.” Why eat just one hamburger, when you hav e room for 4 – plus fries? Why build framing from 2X4’s when you could when you could use 2X6’s?? He once built a wooden cooler for a Volkswagon bus-turned camper, that was so heavy it could barely be lifted into the camper (which could be why the Volkswagon camper broke down on its very first trip to a lake!” After the family moved to Oklahoma, he planted a garden – with 50’ rows allotted for each vegetable – much more that even six families could eat or freeze!
He liked to rebuild cars – engines, body work, wiring – whatever was needed. He was an expert at woodcrafting and learned how to make stained glass. After retirement he learned to cook – and expected you to be at the table the minute he declared it “Ready!!” He was a licensed gunsmith for several years – and could build a gun from stock to barrel beautifully polished and blued.
Ross had a photographic memory – he and his sons would often have verbal contest at the table, seeing who could trip up whom, regarding countries, capitals, leaders and books. A favorite pastime for the entire family as his sons married and grandchildren grew was a loud game of Trivial Pursuit. It was always “boys against the girls” – and since the boys had Ross on their team the girls got to cheat with phones, Google, etc. (the girls weren’t exactly “allowed’ to cheat, but they did anyway). It didn’t take long for granddaughter Ellen to realize which team was going to win each time, so she frequently bailed on the “girls” and joined the “boys” team.
His career took him through many phases of McDonnell Aircraft and eventually brought the family to Oklahoma in 1978. McDonnell Aircraft became McDonnell Douglass, then Rockwell and then Boeing. He kept the same parking space but the company name on the paycheck often changed. He rose to the title of Manager Human Relations, retiring from Boeing in December of 2000.
Ross and wife Linda shared many activities, willingly or not! They both enjoyed “day trips”, just to find a new restaurant for lunch; vacations in Arkansas, where Linda could say “turn left”! just to see where the road went over the next hill. He was volunteered for many civic duties through the years – his red truck was used as a parade float, he helped set up the American Legion building for the Tri-County Fair and he helped cook and serve 1500 hamburgers during Founders Day on Main Street, more than once. Ross liked to fish – for about 30 minutes at a time! Ross enjoyed cheeses, wines, his recliner, complete control of the TV remote and a plain fried hamburger patty with grilled onions on top.
Ross was a loving grandfather being blessed with three extraordinary gifts – Ellen, Emma and Ethan. When there were little, he played Horsey, built them a swing set, had Tea on the floor with plastic cups, made many trips to the zoo and repaired bicycles. As the grandchildren grew, he admired their wit, curiosity, intelligence and accomplishments and knew that they will all mark their place in the world as the years go by.
He loved his daughter-in-laws and thought he hit the jackpot when his brought home their brides – both of them smart, funny, generous and caring……and according to Tricia, “he was a good conversationalist, a sweet father-in-law and he put up with my hugs”! (Ross was not necessarily a hugger)!
We celebrate the life of Ross Herbert Pfeffer……brother, husband, father, grandfather and life-long friend. He was a craftsman, an intellectual and a force to be reckoned with during his career. May he forever rest in peace.