Albert, Al, Haas Pfeifle was born September 28, 1927, in Aberdeen, S.D., and died May 27, 2019, in Alexandria, Minn. A graduate of Martin High School, Al lived in many places, including Menno, Martin, Sisseton, and Aberdeen, several communities in Minnesota, and Salt Lake City, Utah.
Al met Shirley Deon Carr at a dance in Merriman, Neb. On April 8, 1951, they were married at St. Katharine’s Episcopal Church and started their life together on a farm 16 miles northeast of Martin, where Al’s parents operated a small dairy. Al served in the United States Army in Trieste, Italy, during the Korean War as a member of the 98th U.S. Army Band. Shirley joined Al in Italy, where they lived off base, enjoying Italian culture and cuisine. Their daughter, Katherine, was born there.
Al’s career with the U.S. Department of the Interior spanned 30 years, beginning with land conservation work on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, many years as a contracting officer for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and culminating in overseeing multi-million dollar dam projects as chief contracting and procurement officer for the Bureau of Reclamation in Utah.
Al had many interests and hobbies. He took flying lessons and obtained his pilot’s license; he researched his German ancestry and published a book on the Pfeifle family; he could play the accordion, baritone horn and organ; he sold and repaired musical instruments and Thomas organs; he served as lay reader, organist, treasurer and vestry member for many Episcopal parishes; he loved to travel and enjoyed new and interesting foods; he was a good cook and made wonderful pies. He could teach himself almost anything.
Following retirement at age 57, Al and Shirley moved back to Minnesota, traveling to craft fairs in many states, selling the names and jewelry which Al designed and cut out of wood; later, Al taught driver safety to seniors and administered the 55 Alive program as State Director. They returned to Europe in 1987 for nine wonderful weeks of travel.
Al was a tireless volunteer. His family remembers him always “on the go” doing work for the church, the American Legion and its Black Hawk drill team, and, later in life, for liberal causes. In his 80s, he became an advocate for native interests by showing a PBS documentary on the 1862 Dakota War to local groups.
Al loved to tell stories about the things he had experienced and the people he had met. He had a zest for life and never tired of offering his opinion about a political issue or a cause he believed in. A number of life experiences held special meaning for Al, Cursillo being one of them; but nothing compared to simply living day to day with Shirley, his partner for 66 years.
Al was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley, and by his parents, Albert and Martha Pfeifle. Al is survived by his four children, Katherine, St. Cloud, Karen, St. Paul, Jim (Jackie), Lincoln, Neb, and JoEllen (Belvin) Doebbert, Glenwood; three grandchildren, Connor and Gavin Doebbert, Minneapolis and Shawn (Cody) Hanson, Sisseton; and four great-grandchildren. Arrangements are with the Cremation Society of Minnesota.
August 1, 2019, 1:00 p.m., at Atonement Lutheran Church, St. Cloud, MN, with visitation at noon; and Military Service with burial of ashes for Albert and Shirley on August 2, 2019, 10:30 a.m. at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis.