Mars Borough loses ‘icon’
Edward “Ed” John Pfeifer III, founder of Pfeifer Hardware in Mars, was called an icon in the community.
Pfeifer III died at his home Friday, March 24, morning, surrounded by his loved ones.
“He’s owned and operated two businesses — the funeral business and the hardware business — while he’s been here,” said his son, Edward “Ed” Pfeifer IV. “So, you know, he just knows everybody, and everybody knows him.”
The elder Pfeifer owned and operated Pfeifer Hardware in the borough from 1986 to 2002 and, before that, Waters-Pfeifer Funeral Home for five years.
“He was a business owner for basically his whole life,” the younger Pfeifer said.
He also served as past president for Mars Kiwanis Club service organization, and he was a lifelong member of the Adams Area Fire District, a social member of the Mars VFW and a board member for Quality EMS.
In addition, he belonged to the Northern Allegheny County Caravan 19 of the Syria Shrine and Consistory, and he was a member of Masonic Lodge No. 573.
“He was a strong leader, but he was very, very fair,” his son said. “He expected hard work. He accepted failure, but was always encouraging.
Pfeifer was raised in Millvale Borough, Allegheny County, where he met his wife, Ruth Goetz Pfeifer. The couple married Sept. 27, 1969.
“They were high school sweethearts,” his son said.
Educated at Kent State University and the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, Pfeifer worked as a licensed funeral director for 13 years at his grandfather’s funeral home. He also worked as a supervisor for Frank DeBor Funeral Home in Pittsburgh.
In 1977, he moved to Mars to open his own funeral home, which he ran until 1982.
“He bought the hardware store from the previous owner in 1986,” the younger Pfeifer said and laughed. “Just decided on a change in career, I guess.”
Pfeifer and his wife converted what was then Mars Hardware into Pfeifer Hardware — owning it for 16 years.
“And then my parents sold it to my wife and I in 2002,” the younger Pfeifer said, “but he stayed on, extremely active in the store’s function, for years and years and years.”
Pfeifer’s dedication to his work and community, his son said, continued all throughout his life.
“I would say, my dad would have wanted to convey that message that you get what you get by hard work,” the younger Pfeifer said. “And enjoy life.”
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, March 27, at the Mars Presbyterian Church.
Memorial donations in Pfeifer’s memory can be made to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children or St. Jude Children’s Hospital.