If Fritz Pfeiffer invited you into his home, you were in for a treat.
There were no excuses, explains Ted Bob, who first met Pfeiffer almost five years ago to go over hospital paperwork for a donation Pfeiffer wanted to make.
After making sure Pfeiffer was happy with the paperwork, Bob began getting ready to leave.
“And [Pfeiffer] says, ‘no, no, no, sit down, what do you like’?
“I said I always like coffee … he immediately brewed up a pot of very strong black European-style coffee and bingo, out comes the chocolate.”
Around 70 people gathered at the Pioneer Place on Saturday in Smithers to pay their respects to Pfeiffer, who passed away Jan. 30.
Pfeiffer recently made local headlines for his donation of $1.6 million to the Bulkley Valley Health Foundation in 2016.
The donation was made to help bring a CT scanner to Smithers.
During the celebration numerous people painted a picture of a man who didn’t care who you were or where you were from, but rather how he could help you.
Pfeiffer’s niece told stories of his time in the Second World War on the Russian front where a young Pfeiffer was wounded and later became a prisoner of war.
It was this time in the hospital that she feels influenced Fritz’s philanthropic nature toward healthcare.
“I never heard Fritz complain about being tired or another expensive repair bill, instead his complaints ranged from seedlings not being planted properly or the waste of wood,” said family friend Jeannette Malkow.
The crowd gave a subdued-but-collective laugh whenever Pfeiffer’s love for politics was mentioned.
“There was always something to talk about with Fritz. He knew his information and clearly stated his opinion,” said Malkow, among a sea heads nodding in agreement.
Dennis Rebinsky, a former employee of Pfeiffer who began working for him out of high school in 1976, said that Pfeiffer gave him a job and personal training despite the fact he didn’t have any experience.
“He needed a loaderman and I needed a job,” said Rebinsky, who added the employment opportunity was the catalyst for a relationship that would last decades.
“A person wasn’t just an employee of Pfeiffer Logging, they were part of Fritz and Renata’s family.
“One warm summer evening I stopped by to visit Fritz … he had been working all day in his three gardens and I asked if his back was sore. He admitted it was and then he said, ‘I wish I was just ten years younger’ — he was 92 at that time.”
“My only regret in all those visits was that I hadn’t met Fritz 50 years ago,” added Bob.