Jack Pfister, former general manager of Salt River Project and member of the Arizona Board of Regents, died in his Phoenix home on July 20, 2009. He was 75.
“With Jack’s death, we have lost a family member and a good friend. He will be greatly missed by all,” Regents President Ernest Calderón said in a statement.
“His support for the university system was unwavering. For decades, Jack was there to lend support and provide guidance,” Calderón continued. “As a former regent, he significantly contributed to the enhancement of our university system, working to make a university education affordable and accessible for all.”
A fourth-generation Arizonan, Mr. Pfister was born in Prescott on Oct, 3, 1933. He worked hard (and played hard) through his schooling in Prescott. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 1955, married Patricia in 1956, and then graduated from the University of Arizona Law School in 1959. He became a partner with the law firm of Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, where he remained until 1969.
Mr. Pfister joined SRP in 1970 and served in many capacities. He became general manager in 1976 until he retired in 1991. Among many achievements, he worked with Gov. Bruce Babbitt to negotiate the state’s first groundwater management act.
Mr. Pfister contributed his time generously to charitable, government and community activities. He served on the transition teams for both incoming Gov. Jane Hull and incoming Mayor Phil Gordon. President Jimmy Carter tapped him for a national steering committee to analyze the impacts from the Three Mile Island accident. He also served as a board member and on the staff of the Center for the Future of Arizona.
Among many honors he received was the Human Relations Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1992. In commending the award, Lattie F. Coor, then-president of Arizona State University, stated, “Jack Pfister combines an uncommon ability at problem solving with a boundless commitment to the well-being of this community and this state. By listening carefully to all who are around him, he finds the common core of decency by which a society advances itself and helps us all to make this a better place in which to live.”
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Patricia; his daughter, Suzanne; his son, Scott (Patricia Dowd) and his brother, Tad Pfister (Linda); along with many cousins and extended family. He was a devoted father, a loving brother and dedicated his life to improving education and encouraging community service.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Mr. Pfister’s memory can be made to the following charities: Pfister Family Scholarship, Maricopa County Community College District Foundation, 2419 W. 14th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281 and the Wellness Community, 360 E. Palm Lane, Phoenix, AZ 85004 for lung cancer support.