Charles Gates Pfeiffer, 92, of Columbia, died Sunday, August 26, 2012. Born in Gordon, Nebraska, on December 9, 1919, he was a son of the late Otto George Martin Pfeiffer and Velma Gates Pfeiffer. Mr. Pfeiffer earned his BA degree from John Fletcher College, his BD degree from Drew University, and went on to pursue advanced degrees at George Peabody College for Teachers and Vanderbilt University, among others. He was passionate about educational travel and led numerous western history field trips over the years. Between 1971 and 1989 he took fourteen groups of students camping through the American West, averaging 8,000 miles per trip. He also traveled to Israel, Jordan, the United Kingdom, Central Europe and Italy for both professional and personal education.
An ordained minister, Dr. Pfeiffer served in various Methodist churches in the US, and taught at Columbia College and The Lutheran Southern Seminary. He held the first R. Wright Spears Chair at Columbia College and served as chairman of the Religion Department.
Dr. Pfeiffer was active in all the communities in which he lived, teaching Sunday school and at local Shepherds’ Centers for Senior Citizens, and often addressing service clubs and schools on topics related to the American West. He was one of the founders of the South Carolina Academy of Religion, was the founder and chairman of the Southeastern Zane Grey’s West Society, as well as serving in many other professional organizations.
Dr. Pfeiffer’s professional writings are extensive, including numerous articles and booklets and a full length book. In 1990, Charles was awarded Columbia College’s highest honor, The Columbia College Medallion, for exceptional accomplishments, leadership and service.
Survivors include his wife, Lella K. Rice Pfeiffer, with whom he celebrated 65 years of marriage on August 22nd; his daughter, Rozanna Marie Pfeiffer; and his sister, Frances Palmer of Mountain Home, Arkansas.
A memorial service for Dr. Pfeiffer will be held at 11 o’clock Friday, August 31, 2012 at Washington St. United Methodist Church, with The Rev. Carl Evans and The Rev. Bill Childs officiating. The family will receive friends following the service. Shives Funeral Home is assisting the family.