Monday, Jun 18, 2018
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Ex-teacher toiled on family farm

FREMONT - Mabel B. Pfeiffer, formerly of Ottawa County s Benton Township, a teacher in at least 10 one-room schoolhouses who later worked full time in support of the family dairy farm, died of pneumonia yesterday in Valley View Nursing Home here. She was 93.

Mrs. Pfeiffer, after graduation from Danbury High School, attended Bowling Green State University. She became a substitute teacher, and her assignments were to rural schoolhouses with eight grades in one room.

“She said so many of the kids were taller than she was,” her daughter, Donna Willoughby, said. When pupils got rowdy, “she had to put up a front,” her daughter said. “She didn t dare act afraid because she would have lost control of the situation.”

Mrs. Pfeiffer, during drives in the country with her daughter, pointed out at least 10 different schoolhouses in which she taught. She did not return to teaching after she and her husband, Wilbur, married and reared a family. She instead worked in support of his dairy farm on State Rt. 2.

“My dad was trying to build himself up in farming. She helped,” their daughter said. “She d drive a tractor and lug bales around.”

She raised chickens and sold them along the road. She canned the produce from her large vegetable garden so the family could have sweet corn, tomatoes, peas, green beans, and potatoes through the winter. She cooked a large meal at noon and a slightly smaller meal at night.

“Dad expected a dessert at every meal. We had quite a repertoire of desserts - pies and cakes,” her daughter said. We almost always had home-baked cookies in the house.”

She helped with the sausage-making that followed hog butchering. Especially popular was a type of sausage that was fried, placed in jars, and covered in lard.

“You can t buy anything like that today - nothing that tastes that good,” her daughter said.

Mrs. Pfeiffer s sons gradually took over more of the farm responsibilities, though she and her husband didn t retire entirely. Mr. Pfeiffer died June 1, 1992.

Mrs. Pfeiffer was a member of St. Peter Lutheran Church, Martin, where she was a member of the Women of the Church.

Surviving are her sons, Ron and Dave; daughter, Donna Willoughby; eight grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren, and two step-great-grandchildren.

The body will be in the Eggleston-Meinert-Pavley Mortuary, Woodville Road Chapel, after 2 p.m. tomorrow. Services will be at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in St. Peter Lutheran Church, Martin.

The family suggests tributes to the church.

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