Obituaries

Don A. Pfeiffer

January 25, 1937 - October 28, 2018

Don A. Pfeiffer

Obituary

Don A. Pfeiffer, 81 passed away peacefully at home early Sunday morning, October 28, 2018. Known to his family and friends to be a man of profound strength and discipline, he was taken from us by a rare and incurable bone marrow failure disorder (MDS). Don was born on January 25, 1937 the son of Hans and Gladys (Fritchen) Pfeiffer – his father a German immigrant, his mother from a large Wisconsin-based family—a group of grounded individuals who proved formative for Don, leaving some of the most cherished memories in the wake of his childhood. After graduating from Proviso High School in Chicago he attended Indiana’s Valparaiso University as an engineering student… on a football scholarship. At the age of 23 he was hired by United Air Lines and enjoyed a flawless career spanning 37 years, retiring in 1997 as a highly regarded Captain of the iconic Boeing 747 and the number seven most senior pilot in the company. During his career Don also became an accomplished horseman, riding and training cutting horses. Before moving on from the sport, he became a qualified and sought-after judge and competed in the renowned Ft. Worth Futurity with Lonsum Leaping Lucy, a horse he trained himself.  With his airline flying behind him, he entered the world of sport aviation where he owned and operated many unique aircraft and eventually built two airplanes. A natural pilot, his calm and skillful command of any flying machine was never the topic of debate. He became a respected friend and inspiration to his aviation family and a cherished member of his community at Bel Air Estates. Always an animal lover and never one to sit idly by his accomplishments, Don used his 70’s to master the sport of agility trials with his two dogs Taco and Dakota—he was both an accomplished competitor and instructor.

As an avid student of history, he kept close to his heart the struggles and triumphs of those who have suffered to survive and improve our world. He loved stories of people who overcame great adversity and stood in defiance of their apparent fate. This in conjunction with his life experiences was the foundation of his quiet strength and fortitude. More than anything else, Don was a beloved partner, father and friend. His steady presence and gentle smile will be deeply missed by all.

Godspeed, Don.

He is survived by his significant other, Sherry Putnam; four children, Kim, Noelle, Mark and Wynn; seven grandchildren, Chris, Nathan, Terran, Ian, Maris, Cole and Riley; and five great-grandchildren, Alina, Preston, Jaxon, Dominic and Eleanor. Don’s wife Charlene Pfeiffer preceded him in death on August 13, 2014.

A memorial gathering will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Friday, November 9, 2018 at Anderson Funeral and Cremation Services, 218 W. Hurlbut Avenue, Belvidere, IL.  Memorial ceremony and reflection on Don’s life will be held at 3:00 p.m. with a post service gathering at the E.A.A. Hangar 5151 Orth Road, Poplar Grove, IL.  Memorial contributions can be given to Mylodystplastic Foundation at MDS-Foundation.org or Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary at Noahsarkanimals.org

Service Schedule

Friday, November 9, 2018
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Anderson Funeral and Cremation Services

218 West Hurlbut Ave
Belvidere, IL 61008

815-544-2616

A memorial gathering will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Friday, November 9, 2018 at Anderson Funeral and Cremation Services, 218 W. Hurlbut Avenue, Belvidere, IL.

Friday, November 9, 2018
3:00 pm

Anderson Funeral and Cremation Services

218 West Hurlbut Ave
Belvidere, IL 61008

815-544-2616

Memorial ceremony and reflection on Don’s life will be held at 3:00 p.m. with a post service gathering at the E.A.A. Hanger 5151 Orth Road, Poplar Grove, IL.

 

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Dear family,
Don was a very good friend. We were blessed to have had him in our lives. He showed us both how to live and die gracefully. He cared for his family, friends and for Sherry intensly. Finally; he had guided himself through his final breath with dignity and precision. Don, we will truly miss you for years to come.

Matthew and Colleen Poleski 2018-11-12T15:50:43

My heart goes out to you and your family at this difficult time.
It was an honor to know Don, I enjoyed working for him and our little talks.
Definitely will miss him.

Linda MacDonald

Linda MacDonald 2018-11-09T07:08:52

Our sincere condolence to Sherry and Don’s entire family. As you go thru life you have many acquaintances and friends. Often acquaintances are referred to as friends. However, in actuallity you have a limited number of true friends. Don was a true friend and will be sorely missed. God Speed My Friend
Bill & Lynn

Bill Turner 2018-11-08T12:10:41

Greg and I were so sorry to hear about the loss of Don. We often saw him on the grassy area of the airfield, walking our respective dogs. He was always so friendly, but very quiet. We are sad that we won’t be able to make the memorial services because of a trip overseas, but I know it be a fitting tribute this this fine friend and neighbor. Rest in Peace, Don.

Connie Fowler

Connie Fowler 2018-11-08T05:44:31

I am so sorry for your loss. I know his flight west was ready but your hearts were not. I remember my husband. Captain Ron Cubberley (who flew west in July 2016) always spoke highly of Don & they were friends for many years -Ron also flew 33 years with UAL & retired on the 747. Surely they are in the skies flying together & remembering having a job they loved so much that they never worked a day in their careers.
As I still live in Palatine, IL & would attend the memorial, I am in CA for three months with my family. So, I will remember you all in my thoughts & pray for wonderful memories of Don & for peace in your hearts.
In deepest sympathy,
Terry J Cubberley

Terry Cubberley 2018-11-06T07:26:04

Our deepest and heartfelt condolences and sympathies. Don was a good man and a beloved friend. We have many fine memories of him and the times we spent together. We pray God’s peace upon each of your hearts. We will be holding you all close in the many months to come.

Cara Lea and Jim Willoughby 2018-11-05T20:37:48

Our condolences to Sherry and the entire family. What a great man, our Don, and a great inspiration, neighbor, friend and teacher to all. God Speed, Don, have a wonderful flight.

Sandy & Brent Hare 2018-11-03T09:31:31

To the entire family; please accept my heartfelt sadness for your loss of Don. He was a wonderful friend of mine and his passing leaves a gaping hole in my life. Wishing I could shoulder some of your pain. Blessings to you all.

Matthew Poleski 2018-11-03T08:38:34

Our condolences to the entire family. May your memories comfort you and be your strength during your grief. Love Betty & Ben

Betty & Ben Newhouse 2018-11-03T08:30:05

My deepest sympathies to the family for their lost. He will be missed by his fellow Aviation friends and family. RIP as you fly west

Ed Harvey 2018-11-02T12:09:10

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