Philip Eugene Pfannenstiel

Philip Pfannenstiel

HARVEY, MI – Philip Eugene Pfannenstiel passed away on Friday, August 25, 2023 at home with his family by his side, two days before his 80th birthday.

He was born on August 27, 1943 in Hays, Kansas, the son of the late Ernest and Dorothy Pfannenstiel. After graduating from Bishop Ward High School in Kansas City in 1961, Philip joined the Air Force and was stationed in Taiwan for 18 months. He anticipated returning and being stationed in Kansas City, but instead was told his orders had been changed to a new airbase called K.I. Sawyer near Marquette, Michigan. On a snowy, stormy trip to Michigan, Philip stopped in Chicago to ask where K.I. Sawyer was, and was told to “keep going North until you hit Lake Superior”. That he did, and soon after, in Ishpeming at the Roosevelt Bar, he met his future wife, Carol Pietila, from Palmer, Michigan. They were married on January 9, 1965 and enjoyed 58 wonderful years of marriage. Philip went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Education from Northern Michigan University in 1971, a Master of Science degree in Industrial Education also from NMU in 1981, and finally a certificate of Leadership Development in Administration of Vocational and Technical Ed in 1982 from the University of Michigan.

Philip began his career in public education with the Gogebic Ontonagon ISD, and in 1973 was hired by Sault Area High School as Vocational Administrator. In 1990, he became Assistant Principal and in 1994 Principal of Sault Area High School, serving in this role until his retirement in 1997.

Philip was involved in many professional and community organizations throughout his career.

In his retirement, he enjoyed boating, snowmobiling, golfing and bowling, and for 12 years drove the Marq Tran bus and enjoyed driving and conversation with the many groups including the Red Hat Ladies.

Philip and Carol enjoyed seven snowbird winters in Florida, where they found their beloved Shih Tzu, Deja, in 2019. She will miss her “Daddy”. In the summers, they enjoyed time at their beach house in Deerton on Lake Superior, where they could have a nice warm sauna and swim, and where they hosted countless memorable gatherings with family and friends.

Philip valued chatting with friends and strangers alike, and wholeheartedly followed and supported the activities and accomplishments of his children and grandchildren. He will be greatly missed but always remembered as a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and friend.

Philip is survived by his wife, Carol, son Michael (Jennifer Bruce) of Traverse City, daughter Michele Reynolds of Marquette, sister Karen Hunt in Arizona, and four wonderful grandchildren, Paige, Kalina, Abby, and Ellery, along with many cousins, nieces and nephews.

The family offers heartfelt thanks to Single Track Health, especially Dr. Dehlin and Kathy, for the kind and compassionate care and follow-up during the last few months, and to the caregivers Lake Superior Life Care and Hospice.

The family will receive relatives and friends at Faith Lutheran Church in Sault Ste Marie on Friday, September 22, beginning at 1:00 pm until the time of service at 3:00 pm. Rev. Rita Chirala, pastor, will officiate.

In lieu of gifts or flowers, donations can be made in the name of “Phil” to the Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter (UPAWS), 815 S. M-553, Gwinn, MI 49841(upaws.org)

Fassbender Swanson Hansen Funeral and Cremation Services is serving the family, where condolences may be expressed online at fassbenderswansonhansen.com