Eugene David Pfaff, 92, a former resident of Watertown, N.Y., passed away peacefully on Tuesday Oct. 2 in Naples, Fla.
A memorial service will be held Friday, Oct. 12 at North Naples United Methodist Church in Naples. A burial service will follow in the spring in Watertown.
Mr. Pfaff was born June 7th, 1920 on a small farm in Deer River, N.Y., just outside of Carthage, to Leslie J. Pfaff and Naomi Wisner Pfaff.
Mr. Pfaff was a 1937 graduate of West Carthage High School and a 1942 graduate of Syracuse University, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in accounting. While at Syracuse, he traded his labor at a nearby airfield for flying lessons and flight time. During World War II, his love of flying took him to Michigan where he was stationed at the Grosse Isle Naval Air Station and served as a primary flight instructor, Lieutenant, USNR. It was there that he met his wife of 67 years, Edith Webb, and combined his two true loves. They were married March 10, 1945.
Following his discharge from the service in 1945, Mr. Pfaff worked for the Standard Oil Co. until 1950 when he returned to northern New York with Edith and set up residence in Watertown. There he entered into a partnership with his uncle at D.K. Briggs, a feed, grain, coal, and building supply business in Great Bend, N.Y. Here he honed his skills as the consummate businessman, acquiring or merging with 11 other companies between 1955 and 1972. Next he merged his business with Roe Farm Service. In 1972, he purchased Northern Asphalt & Tar Co. He went on to form Watertown Vending, a third-generation family business, with son E. David Pfaff Jr. and retired in 1992.
Mr. Pfaff was always willing and happy to lend his knowledge and enthusiasm to several businesses, organizations and volunteer causes. He helped form North Counties Supply Co. and Dry Hill Ski Corp., and served as president of the Modern Oil Heat Institute of Northern New York and the Campbells Point Association. Gene served as vice president of the Hospital Corporation of Jefferson County and director of Northeastern Lumbermans Association and Empire State Petroleum Association among others. He was a member of Black River Valley Club, Ives Hill Country Club, Crescent Yacht Club, Innisbrook Golf and Country Club, Tarpon Springs, Fla., and Countryside Golf Club in Naples. He was also a long-time member of the First Presbyterian Church, Watertown.
Mr. Pfaff volunteered at the Imaginarium Childrens Museum in Ft. Myers Fla., and at the Collier Automotive Museum in Naples.
Over the years, Gene enjoyed travelling with family and organizing travel groups with friends. Mr. Pfaff also enjoyed spending time at a summer home on Lake Ontario at Campbells Point, N.Y.
Mr. Pfaff is survived by his wife, Edith, three sons, David (Michelle), William (Lori), and Murray (Monique), one daughter, Rebecca Brown (William), six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. His brother, Curtis L. Pfaff, preceded him in death.
Mr. Pfaffs final wishes were for no one to mourn his death but instead to celebrate his life. As he always enjoyed saying, Keep em flying!
Donations in his memory may be sent to Vitas Hospice, 4980 Tamiami Trail North, Suite 102 Naples, Fla. 34103, or to the charity of your choice.