Sunday, April 11, 2021

Pfeifer Building, 447 Merchant St., 1929

Business and home of R. L. Pfeifer 
Funeral Director
447 Merchant St.
Daily Citizen 
August 10, 1929

Did you ever notice that the Vocelli Pizza building at 447 Merchant St. has "Pfeifer" spelled out in bricks near the top of the fa├žade and wonder why?

Vocelli Pizza
447 Merchant St.
April 9, 2021
credit: P. J. Shotter

Well, about 100 years ago, that building was home to the business of R. L. Pfeifer, a funeral director who also provided ambulance service. The building was also home to Pfeifer and his family.

R. L Pfeifer ad
Economy Centennial Souvenir Program
Economy of Old and Ambridge of Today
June 1924

Robert L. Pfeifer, a WWI veteran, began his funeral business in Ambridge in 1920, and reportedly became a popular and very active part of Ambridge's community. Pfeifer belonged to a number of civic and fraternal organizations in Ambridge including the Rotary, Canady-Hull American Legion Post 341, Masons, Odd Fellows, Elks, and Moose. And he was an active member of Ambridge's Volunteer Fire Department where he held several offices over the years.

Pfeifer also was respected within his profession, serving as president of both the Western Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association in 1936 - 37 and Beaver County Funeral Directors Association. 

Pfeifer died of a heart attack in 447 Merchant on September 11, 1938, after working almost all night to prepare a body for burial, even though he'd not been feeling well. He would have been 40 on September 13. 

His obituary in the September 12 Daily Citizen was headlined "R. L. Pfeifer, Noted Citizen, Dies Suddenly. Death of Funeral Director, 40, Shock to Ambridge."