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Jack's Life

A fourth generation Arizonan, Jack was born in Prescott on October 3, 1933.  His family includes his wife of 52 years, Patricia, his daughter, Suzanne, his son, Scott and his brother, Tad Pfister, along with many extended family members.  He was a devoted father, a loving brother and dedicated his life to improving education and encouraging community service.

A Community Treasure

Jack Pfister and TadJack was a true community treasure, having spent his entire career as a recognized leader in all aspects of the state’s critical infrastructure--business, education, community and government. He was a revered friend to many, from powerful leaders to those he “adopted,” who called him a “rent-a-dad.” His keen intellect and abundant capacity to resolve the most challenging problems were complemented by his humility, graciousness and gentle sense of humor.

Early Years

Subsequent to losing his father at age three, Jack worked hard (and played hard) through his schooling in Prescott.  Although he was considered too rowdy to be in National Honor Society, he moved on to The University of Arizona where he graduated in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Metallurgical Engineering.  While working as an engineer with Shell Oil Company from 1955 to 1956, he met Pat on a blind date and six months later they married.  Upon graduating from The University of Arizona Law School in 1959, Jack became a partner with the Phoenix law firm of Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, where he remained until 1969.

Jack Pfister and GiteriezWater Legacy

Having represented SRP as an attorney, Jack joined the utility full-time in 1970 and served in various managerial capacities. He served as General Manager from 1976 until he retired in 1991. Among his many accomplishments at the helm of SRP was a major water rights settlement for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community involving seven Valley cities and three irrigation districts. It was heralded as a milestone in cooperative water management in Arizona. He also worked with Governor Bruce Babbitt in negotiating the state’s first groundwater management act and helped to find a less expensive and environmentally sound alternative to the Orme Dam.

While at SRP, Jack advocated participatory management and established a structure for managers and supervisors to share ideas, concerns and views.  He initiated a series of social issue presentations designed to keep SRP executives focused on a wide spectrum of community and contemporary matters affecting the company.  He was emphatic about the need to maintain high levels of integrity and good customer service.

Jack Pfister and LattiA Life Well Lived

During his professional career and after he retired, Jack contributed his time generously to charitable, government, and community activities. He served on the transition teams for both incoming Governor Jane Hull and incoming Mayor Phil Gordon. President Jimmy Carter tapped him for a national steering committee to analyze the impacts from Three Mile Island accident. He also served as a board member and on the staff of the Center for the Future of Arizona.

Jack chaired the Harmony Alliance, Inc. and served on the steering committee for Victory Together.  Both were efforts aimed to promote racial harmony and to secure a holiday to honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Some of his many other honors include the University of Arizona’s Centennial Distinguished Alumnus Award, the Valley Leadership Visionary Award, an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Arizona, a Distinguished Achievement Award from Arizona State University’s College of Public Programs, and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Public Power Association.