John R. Pfeffer

John R. Pfeffer died peacefully on August 16th at the age of 94. He was residing at the time along with Linda, his wife of 66 years, at Moorings Park in Naples, Fla. John and Linda were long time summer residents of Chatham where Linda’s parents started visiting in the late ’40s. He is survived by Linda and their three children Steven, Tom and Mindy as well as seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
John was born on Dec. 27th, 1925 and grew up in Lebanon Ill., a small farming community across the river from St. Louis, Mo. His father Harold was the president of Pfeffer Milling, a regional flour company established in the late 1800s that flourished for many years until the late ’40s. Prior to that time in the late ’30s, John’s father built a 9-hole public golf course next to their home in Lebanon and named it Locust Hills. In addition to the golf course Harold constructed a beautiful German style club house and swimming pool. John would learn to play on this course and develop a love for the game that would later on in his life inspire him to build his own course.
     After serving in WWII in the Marines, John graduated with distinction from the University of Illinois. After graduation, John returned to Lebanon and at age 22, leased Locust Hills from his father which he managed and developed as his own business. This decision established a pattern of entrepreneurship that would continue for the rest of his life. In 1950 he married Nancy Harris and they had one child, Steven. But within three years the polio epidemic struck and tragically, after contracting the disease, Nancy passed away within a week.
     In 1954 John entered the St. Louis University School of Law. Shortly thereafter he was blessed with the good fortune of meeting and marrying Linda Bunn of Springfield Ill. His aspirations to become a lawyer were to be cut short when, in 1956, he purchased the old Pfeffer Milling Co and converted it into a very successful lumber yard. Moving back to Lebanon with his new wife he continued to run the yard until 1962 when he decided to make a major break with the past and move his family to the East Coast. By this time he and Linda had added two more children to the family, Tom and Mindy. They settled in New Canaan Conn. and John commuted into New York City where he eventually got involved in the television and movie industry. He and his partner developed the Joe Namath talk show and later produced a movie starring Joe titled “The Last Rebel.”
     A short time after the release of “The Last Rebel,” John redirected his energies and became a major distributor of gasoline to mass merchandisers such as JC Penney and Target. This successful endeavor lasted the better part of a decade until the late ’70s when he became the principal shareholder and chairman of the New Canaan Bank and Trust. He remained active in the bank until it was sold in 1989 at which time he retired and moved with Linda to Naples, Fla.
     John’s retirement was to be short-lived however when, in 1996, he acquired sufficient land in Harwich to construct a new golf course which opened as a private club in 1998 and was named Cape Cod National. This chapter of John’s life provided a fitting end to a long and varied business career. He always referred to the club as his greatest and most enduring legacy and loved that he had created something that was enjoyed by so many.
Notwithstanding his active business life John was a dedicated family man as well as a generous philanthropist. Over the course of his life he devoted many hours and significant resources to the support of a variety of charitable organizations. Additionally he was always available when friends or family were in need of help or guidance. It’s fair to say that they broke the mold when John was born. He will be deeply missed and his passing felt by many.
Because of Covid there will be no services at this time. A private family gathering will take place at a later time.