Home Obituaries Obituary: Donald Terry Pfister: June 19, 1944 – December 24, 2020

Obituary: Donald Terry Pfister: June 19, 1944 – December 24, 2020

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Donald Terry Pfister. Courtesy Photo.

Don Pfister was born on June 19, 1944, in New York City to Grace and Charles Pfister. He attended Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Peter Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. He graduated from Wesleyan University in Ohio, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology as well as a minor in pre-medical studies. He graduated cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation he spent a year at Drew Seminary in Madison, N.J. He attended Goddard College and also the Rudolf Steiner College in Waldorf Education and received his master’s degree in counseling from Lesley College in Cambridge, Mass.

In 1969, Don joined the Air Force. He served a voluntary tour in Vietnam where he worked as a personnel officer, civic actions officer, and casualty coordinator. While in Vietnam, he received word that his brother Robert died of peritonitis following a case of appendicitis. This death and several others haunted him for the remainder of his life.

After leaving the military, Don worked as a correctional counselor in St. Albans, Vt., and a housing and publications clerk for the Air Force in St. Albans, followed by a position as a personnel officer for the Department of Social Welfare in Montpelier. 

Before settling in Asheville, N.C. (where he was instrumental in establishing a co-housing community), Don spent many years in Montpelier, where he owned a home and was very active in the Unitarian Church. Don was also active in many churches in the Asheville area.

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He was a lifelong spiritual seeker, a passionate bibliophile, an avid runner, and someone who cultivated a meditation practice. He enjoyed reading poetry, writing poetry, and watching political documentaries. One of his daily practices was watching the sunrise and sunset at two special spots in Asheville.

Don never married and had no children, but he helped his friends and community by supporting camps, gymnastics, and Waldorf education ventures. He shared the familial love of those around him. He also supported those who were struggling and local community organizations.

Don’s memorial service was held Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. at the Universalist Congregation of Asheville via Zoom.