Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Mel Pfaelzer

Mel Pfaelzer


Honored December, 1988

Mel Pfaelzer

When Mel Pfaelzer decided to go into the ink business, he broke with family tradition. "His father was in the meat business for sixty years with Swift and Company. All the Pfaelzer men were in the meat business," says his wife, Dicky Pfaelzer.

Born in Chicago in 1908 to Abe and Lily Pfaelzer, Mel was their only son. He had one sister, Beatrice. "He was the golden boy. His parents worshipped him," Dicky recalls.

His father was a horse person, and Mel's love of horses was immediate. "Mel showed at the International when he was six, at the Royal in Kansas City when he was eight, and he began showing for other people when he was eleven. His father was the only man in the Chicago stockyards who rode a horse English gaited. Everyone else rode quarter horses."

Mel attended a private school, the Harvard School for Boys. "He was always very involved in sports and with horses," Dicky said. "He was also a Golden Gloves boxerÑfortunately, he gave that up.

Rita Weil was fourteen when she met her husband-to-be. Mel married Rita in 1932. "It took her five years to catch him," says Dicky. Mel and Rita had two daughters, Jill and Nancy. Rita died tragically of a brain aneurysm, in 1956.

Mel married Dicky, Rita's sister, in 1957. "I've known Mel all my life," she says. "We were together only thirty-one years. I wish it could have been longer."

Mel worked in the printing business from 1936 to 1975 and was president of Bowers Printing Ink Company in Chicago. He served on the board of the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers. He was also a dog lover, and "started the first obedience class for dogs in Chicago".

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes