Cover photo for John Stephen Pfeiffer's Obituary
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1929 Pfeiffer 2024

John Stephen Pfeiffer

April 26, 1929 — March 9, 2024

John (Jack) Stephen Pfeiffer, 94, passed away surrounded by family in hospice care on March 9, 2024 following a fall and the discovery of an advanced cancer condition.

Jack was born in Durango, CO on April 26, 1929 to Gladys Bendure Pfeiffer and Odd Christopher Pfeiffer, the third of their five children. Except for three years in his teens and one year during law school (NYU Law/DU Law grad), Jack lived his entire life in Colorado. 

In his self-published memoirs Jack framed his life as being marked by his relationships with three women, his mom/Gladys, Ellie and Sue. His mom, having raised her children by herself after the untimely death of her husband, imprinted on Jack "the value of a person who can smile even when everything goes dead wrong." That view and his sense that "things will work out" were spiritedly evident throughout Jack's life. Eleanor (Ellie) Ebersole was introduced to Jack during their undergraduate studies at Colorado College. Their shared love of music and dance fostered a number of lively dates. They fell in love, in due course were married (1952) and created a loving family that included three daughters - Susan, Jean and Catherine. During that time of devotion to family, the female-focused nature of which caused him to declare, "even the dog is a girl!", Jack developed and honed his career in law. His law practice provided Jack with the means to support his family, to share his talents and to be a part of a profession that promoted the rule of law as a foundational feature of civilization. Among other affirmations of his work as an attorney specializing in complex litigation, he was recognized as a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Following an acute illness, Ellie died (1984). Ellie's precipitous decline and death ushered Jack into a new chapter in his adult life. While in California for business, he called on his younger brother's widow, Sue. Their relationship, which encompassed some shared Pfeiffer-family and spousal-loss underpinnings, quickly blossomed and they were married (1985), linking not only their love but a collection of mostly adult children (Sue's children: Carey, Kendall, Bo and Chris). While the seven children came and went, Jack continued his law practice and Sue persevered in education advocacy. Beyond their ongoing interests, a passion emerged from their desire to nurture spiritual and social community. Their verve yielded a sanctuary, fittingly named A Sanctuary Center. That place and its subtle message to walk/read/reflect/renew; has been a focus of their shared energies for the past 25 years.

Jack will be remembered as an advocate for law but also as an unwavering fan of and participant in all activities involving his extended family. If he had his druthers, he would never miss a game, meet, dance, concert, graduation, birth, baptism, wedding or funeral. No one who was present will forget Jack's many, solo, a cappella renditions of celebratory songs or his enthusiasm in twirling his dance partner at a wedding or simply on a whim. He was ever supportive and encouraging with his family - even offering a hopeful, tuning pitch prior to a shared family song. Jack's melody will surely live on in the lives of his extended family.

Jack is survived by his wife Sue, his two daughters: Jeanie (Drew) and Cathy (Patrick); Sue's four children - Carey, Kendall, Bo (Heidi) and Chris (Rachel); 8 grandchildren - Stephen (Bela), Krista (Ryan), Elle (Max), Lindsay, Rayne (Bryan), Zoe, Poppy, Iris and Cordon; 6 great grandchildren - Inaya, Manali, Cathryn, Margaret, Oliver and Rylee; and numerous beloved nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents and wife (Ellie), 

Jack was predeceased by his 3 brothers (Bill, Dick, Ned), sister (Sue) and oldest daughter (Susie).

A memorial service will be private. His cremains will be interred in the All Souls Walk at St. John's Cathedral. In lieu of other memorial offerings, please consider a gift in Jack's name to: A Sanctuary Center ( - a contribution can be processed on that website.


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