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“Was man tief in seinem Herzen besitzt, kann man nicht durch den Tod verlieren. Joh. Wolfgang v. Goethe Dear Gerhard, rest in peace, we always will...Read More »
1 of 1 | Posted by: Alois Pfeifer - Brother


The life of Gerhard R. Pfeifer, a German immigrant and loving father who worked more than three decades at the United Airlines maintenance facility at San Francisco International Airport, will be celebrated Friday, Feb. 7, at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of the Pillar Cemetery in Half Moon Bay.
Born Nov. 22, 1943, at his family's home in Hohl, Germany, in the midst of World War II, Gerhard was one of six children of Lothar and Hedwig Pfeifer.
At the age of 13, Gerhard traveled alone to the United States to live in Montara, Calif., with his aunt and uncle, Mitzi and Rudy Pfeifer, with whom his parents hoped Gerhard would live a better life. This was not an easy transition for Gerhard, who entered public school in Half Moon Bay, despite speaking not a single word of English.
Mitzi would later say that the first word Gerhard probably learned was, "More." He was a man of a voracious appetite: for Mitzi's splendid cooking, for knowledge and books, and later for his favorite beer, Miller Lite. Gerhard also thirsted to perfect the English language. He practiced by listening to the news on a hand-held radio and repeating everything he heard. Within a few years, he mastered English, speaking without a hint of an accent and even winning a Lions Club speech competition in 1962.
Like many young Americans, Gerhard loved baseball. He listened to San Francisco Giants games on the radio and saved money to buy tickets to Candlestick Park, where he watched his boyhood idols, Willie McCovey and Willie Mays.
Gerhard was a soccer fan who took enormous pride in the success of the German national team during the World Cup. He also loved opera, which blasted from outdoor speakers while he worked at Rudy and Mitzi's nursery, which sold pine trees and fuchsia plants throughout the Bay Area. Gerhard's favorite singer was a German tenor named Rudolf Schock.
After graduating from Half Moon Bay Union High School in 1962, Gerhard enrolled at Sonoma State University, where he met his future wife, Mary Ann. The couple had two sons, Stuart and Erich. In order to support his new family, Gerhard quit college and began working at the United Airlines maintenance hub, which was the airlines' largest U.S. service center. In 1995, he was awarded a gold veteran's badge from the International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers for 30 years of service to United Airlines.
Gerhard was a loving father. He delighted his boys with stories of his youth in Germany, of his favorite sports teams, the San Francisco Giants and 49ers, and his magical ability to use his fingers to create an ear-splitting whistle.
Separated from his family by so many miles, Gerhard was raised by Rudy and Mitzi. It is fitting that he will be laid to rest between them, on a hillside that affords spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.
In addition to his sons, Gerhard is survived by a grandson, Dylan; brothers Hugo, Winfried and Alois, who all live in Germany; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his sister, Burga and brother, Andreas.