William Charles Pfefferle Jr.

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PFEFFERLE, WILLIAM CHARLES JR. William Charles Pfefferle, Jr., husband, father, scientist and inventor, still working at 87, died Tuesday at Yale New Haven hospital, of complications following a fall at home. He is survived by Eleanor, his beloved wife of 61 years; his children Lisa, Marc, Susan and Eric and their families including grandchildren Andrew, Gillian, Katie, Michael, and Victoria; and his sister Ruth Ginn. He was predeceased by his brothers Warren and Claire. Bill was born and raised in Philadelphia, the son of William Charles Pfefferle, a grocery store owner, and Katharine Benzinger Pfefferle, a burler. In WWII as 3rd asst engineer he saved his ship by improvising a repair to a failed engine, escaping a German sub hunting his ship. Earning a Drexel ChemE degree and a PhD from UPenn, he married Eleanor in 1949. He worked for Engelhard Industries for 22 years and at 63 co-founded Precision Combustion, working full time til his death. Bill loved his work and was a brilliant scientific problem-solver and inventor, with over 100 issued U.S. patents, including seven in 2009 and 2010. Inventions included the ultra-low NOx catalytic combustor, Magnaforming for high octane gasoline, the Microlith catalytic reactor for fuel and chemical processing and combustion, a novel reactor for alkylation, and inventions directed to improved oil and gas production. In 1990 he was inducted into the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame and in 2003 he received the ACS Industrial Innovation Award. He enjoyed concerts, music, reading and his hybrid car. A Quaker and member of New Haven Meeting, and resident of Madison, Bill loved his wife and family, and he will be dearly missed by family, friends and colleagues. A memorial service will be arranged.

Published in New Haven Register on Dec. 29, 2010
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