Obituary Details

Richard "Dick" Gordon Pfister Jr.

(05/27/1920 - 06/07/1989)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 06/14/1989

Dick Pfister dead at age 69

One of Niobrara County's most prominent citizens has died.

Richard Gordon "Dick" Pfister died unexpectedly June 7, 1989, at St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, while on vacation.

Pfister, 69, was one of Niobrara County's most active citizens throughout his years. He was extremely active in civic and economic development efforts, as well as the athletic programs at Niobrara County High School.

Born May 27, 1920, in Edgemont, S.D. to Richard and Nettie (Burney) Pfister, he was a 1942 graduate of prestigious Harvard University. While in college, he was an All-American football player and also competed in track and field, where he received All Ivy League Honors.

Pfister enlisted in the army at Fort Warren in 1942 and served in the Philippine Islands and Nagoya, Japan during World War II. He rose to rank of Captain. He married Audrey Jane Ellis of Warren, Ohio, April 27, 1942.

After the service, Pfister returned to Edgemont where he ranched with his father. In 1946, he and his wife moved to Lusk, where they started their own ranching operation.

Pfister was an early pioneer in the development of center pivot sprinkler irrigation in southeastern Wyoming and was involved in other diverse business enterprises, including banking, wholesale and retail sales of agricultural feed products, oil and gas exploration and manufacturing.

He was a charter member of the Niobrara Country Club and an avid golfer, a 10-year member of the Lusk Volunteer Fire Department, and served from 1961 to 1966 on the Wyoming State Highway Commission, which he chaired in the last year of his tenure.

Among Pfister's most recent honors was being awarded the 1987 Niobrara Conservation District "Outstanding Conservationist Award," and in 1988 he received the "Excellence in Grazing Management Award" from the Wyoming Sector of the Society for Range Management.

Funeral services were held Monday at the NCHS auditorium with several hundred people attending.

Niobrara County residents described Pfister as a "great man" who will never be forgotten.

Former Herald editor, publisher and owner Jerry Bardo described Pfister as a quiet man who got a lot done.

"He was really a quiet man, but very effective in community endeavors" Bardo said.

"What I see as the real monument to Dick Pfister's many community endeavors are these highway beautification projects that he sponsored, when he was on the Wyoming Highway Commission."

Bardo said Pfister was instrumental in getting the "Lady Bird" rest stop west of Lusk built.

He remembers with a chuckle, that the designated highway leading to the Niobrara Country Club became a designated highway during Pfister's tenure on the highway commission. He said everyone knew it was a personal project that Pfister wanted, but he was very effective at convincing the state commission of the need for a designation.

City/County Planner Don Whiteaker said the entire county will feel the loss of Pfister.

"He was top-notch." Whiteaker said "He was a good friend to the community good to the young and old and those in between. "Without question, he'll be missed."

Whiteaker also described Pfister as a humanitarian.

"He's helped people without people (others) ever knowing about it. He was a great guy and a close personal friend."

Complete obituary information can be found on page two.

Richard G. Pfister

Services for Richard Gordon "Dick" Pfister, 69, were held Monday, June 12, 1989, at 1:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Niobrara County High School with The Rev. Mark Lohr and The Rev. Jess Reeves officiating.

Mr. Pfister died June 7, 1989, at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. He was born May 27, 1920, in Edgemont, S.D. to Richard and Nettie (Burney) Pfister.

Following graduation from Edgemont High School in 1938, he advanced his education at Harvard University, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1942. At Harvard, he started as left guard on the Crimson football team and shared All-American accolades with Endicott Peabody who played right guard. He also competed in track and field, where he received All Ivy League recognition in the shot put.

In 1942, Mr. Pfister enlisted in the U.S. Army at Ft. Warren and served in the Philippine Islands and Nagoya, Japan during World War II. He married Audrey Jane Ellis of Warren, Ohio on April 27, 1943, and upon his discharge from the Army at the rank of captain, the couple returned to Edgemont, where he engaged in the ranching business with his father. In 1946, the couple moved to Lusk where they made their home and started their own ranching operation, which continues to date.

He was an early pioneer in the development of center pivot sprinkler irrigation in southeastern Wyoming and was involved in other diverse business enterprises including banking, wholesale and retail sales of agricultural feed products, oil and gas exploration and manufacturing.

He was a charter member of the Niobrara Country Club and an avid golfer, a 10-year member of the Lusk Volunteer Fire Department, and served for five years (1961-1966) on the Wyoming State Highway Commission, which he chaired in the last year of his tenure. He was devoted to the advocacy of youth and was involved extensively in local Boy Scouts and high school athletic programs. In 1987, he was awarded the Niobrara Conservation District "Outstanding Conservationist Award" and in 1988 he received the "Excellence in Grazing Management Award" from the Wyoming Sector of the Society for Range Management for his efforts devoted to the conservation and preservation of agricultural properties.

In addition to his widow, he is survived by three sons, Robert, Ronson and Rodney, all of Lusk; one sister, Helen P. Hale of Sun City, Ariz.; and eight grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and one son, Richard G. Pfister III.

Burial was in the Lusk Cemetery, Memorials may be directed to the Niobrara County Hospital District.

Peet Mortuary was in charge of arrangements.

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Richard "Dick" Pfister
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