Legacies Live Forever: The Pfaff Family


Marietta, OH –While we live in a world made of materials, it is the immaterial qualities that we often hold most dear. Memories comprise some of the most precious resources in our lives because memories hold the key to our stories, they bind us together with loved ones, and they preserve our legacies for generations.

Before David Pfaff passed away in early May of this year, he had the opportunity to create one last memory with one of the people who meant the most to him, his son, Alex.

In 1959, David was wedded to his bride, Gisela Pfaff, a German native. The ceremony took place in Petersburg-Fulda, a central German settlement, but soon after, the two newlyweds relocated over 4,000 miles away to David’s home town, Marietta, OH.

Family played an important role to David and Gisela. Almost a year after their international union, the couple celebrated the birth of their first son Christopher. Just two years after, the Pfaff family welcomed another member into the world, their son Alex.

Both David and Gisela valued community engagement. They each served with multiple organizations in Washington County, building strong relationships and leaving great impressions on anyone who met them.

The couple actively served at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church. Gisela was also a part of the German Women’s Club and had a strong passion for gardening. David was involved with the American Union Lodge #1 F&AM, Aladdin Shrine, Marietta Shrine Club, and American Legion Post #64.

Fellow Shriner, Tag Wetz, described David as a “jolly-fella, well-liked by everyone who met him.”

David was a devoted salesman for Asphalt Materials, a company who distributes products for asphalt projects. As his skills in sales grew, so did his earnings. Instead of focusing on material gains, David began to look to the long-term. He took his earnings and started creating trusts for his grandchildren and giving back to his community.

While their father worked as a salesman, Christopher and Alex began their own business in the same industry, United Sealing Inc. As the business grew, David was no longer just their father but he also became one of their suppliers. Unfortunately, in 2007, the family suffered the tragic loss of their eldest son, Christopher. The business continues to operate locally under Alex’s direction.

David and Gisela enjoyed 52 years of marriage until Gisela passed away in the Spring of 2011. The couple had been through over half a century together, creating beautiful memories and imparting wisdom on their children and grandchildren.

This wisdom was the source of how David and Alex came to possess one last treasured memory before David passed away. After reviewing David’s estate plans, Alex worked with his father to ensure that a life’s worth of memories would never be forgotten. Although estate planning is never an easy conversation, the two knew it was worthwhile.

After speaking with professional advisors, the Pfaff family was partnered with Marietta Community Foundation. The Foundation began to guide David and Alex through the process and eventually secure a plan that would reflect David’s intentions.

“My dad has always worked to better the community, advocating for animals and helping those in need,” said Alex.

Alongside Alex, David created the David & Gisela Pfaff Family Charitable Fund. They chose six local organizations to support through the fund: The Humane Society of the Ohio Valley Medical Fund, The O’Neill Senior Center, Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption, Marietta Shrine Club, East Muskingum Civic Association, and Marietta Community Foundation. This fund functions as David’s last great service to his community while memorializing his and Gisela’s legacies.

If you are thinking of starting this conversation with a loved one, but don’t know where to begin, Marietta Community Foundation can help walk you through the process. The Foundation is able to protect your family’s legacy and connect your loved ones with organizations that are most important to them. Please contact Heather Allender at 740-373-3286 or heather@mcfohio.org.