Carl Pfeifer
{ "" }
Share Carl's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share


Carl J. Pfeifer, 78, of 1045 Rockdale Rd. Dubuque, formerly of 1620 N. Quebec Street, Arlington, Virginia, died of Alzheimers at 1:05 a.m., Thursday July 12 2007, at Stonehill Care Center.

His body was donated to the Deeded Body Program at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. Martin's Catholic Church in Cascade, Iowa at 10 a.m. on July 28, 2007 with Rev. Neil J. Manternach officiating. Concelebrating is Rev. Douglas Loecke, Rev. Msgr. Albert Manternach & Rev. Carl J. Manternach. Eulogy will be given by Angela Barbieri. Relatives and friends may call after 9 a.m. at the church. THE REIFF FUNERAL HOME in Cascade is in charge of arrangements.

He was born on June 22, 1929, in St. Louis, MO, son of Carl and Emma (Heine) Pfeifer. He was a member of the Society of Jesus, Missouri Province, for 29 years. On November 20, 1976 he married Janaan Manternach, a former Dubuque Franciscan at Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Carl was a prolific writer of religion textbooks, and single title books on catechetics, theology, prayer, meditation, and the saints. He also wrote numerous articles for journals, newspapers, and newsletters. He co-authored with his wife the trend setting religion series, LIFE, LOVE, JOY. It dramatically changed how Catholic children are taught religion.

He was widely known as a lecturer on catechetics and religious education throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, Guam, and Central America. He taught summer sessions at both The Catholic University of America, and St. Michael's College in Winooski, Vermont. He also taughtcourses at Theological College in Washington, D.C. and St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Carl and his wife, Janaan, were presented the prestigious annual award from the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership recognizing their long and illustrious contribution to catechetical ministry. They were the first married couple to receive this award. They were also honored by the National Association of Parish Catechetical Directors with the Emmaus Award for Excellence In Catechesis. This award was given to them because of their international reputation and contribution to the field of Catholic catechesis through writing, publishing and teaching.

He was an avid photographer. For several years he wrote a weekly photo-meditation which appeared in many Diocesan newspapers. They also became a book titled -1/4Photomeditations-3/8 His photos were exhibited in galleries in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland. He was a pioneer in introducing photos of everyday life experience into religion textbooks.

Carl is survived by his wife, Janaan, his brother, Richard (Rosemary) Pfeifer, three brothers-in-law, Thomas (Helen) Manternach, Donald (Anita) Manternach, Richard Ripple; two sisters-in-law, Grace Miller and Janice Manternach; four godchildren, Angela Barbieri, Miguel Barbieri, Edward Jeep and Emily Jeep Klingaman; two honorary, grandchildren, Jake and Hannah Verrips; numerous nieces and nephews including a special nephew, Carl Gerard (Jerry) Pfeifer and his wife, Charlene, who loved their Uncle Carl in many simple and cherishing ways.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his father and mother-in-law, Jacob and Anita Takes Manternach; three sisters-in-laws, Janet Manternach Ripple, Luann Vaske Manternach and Cecilia Lucas Manternach; two brothers-in-law, Orland (Bub) Manternach, and Donald Jacob Manternach (in infancy); a niece, Amy Manternach Kurt and a niece-in-law, Cathy Kimm Manternach.

Memorials may be given in his name to Stonehill Care Center, the Missouri Province Jesuits (St. Louis), the Sisters of St. Francis (Dubuque, Iowa), Hospice of Dubuque or to a charity of your choice.

His family would like to thank Dr. Osamah Khatib, the aides, nurses, and others who lovingly cared for him at Stonehill and for the staff of Hospice of Dubuque who ably helped him in his final act of living. Online condolences may be left for the family at

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Washington Post on Jul. 15, 2007.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
11 entries
July 30, 2007
Dear Janaan,

My profound sympathies on the death of Carl. I am sure that he will find in death the same fulfillment that he found in life. Your marriage and friendship was an inspiration for your neighbors and friends. When I visit my mother, I glance at your house half thinking to see Carl. Our love & prayers to you and your family.

Owen Shean
July 28, 2007
Dear Janaan,
This afternoon (7/28/07) I was thinking of you and Carl. I checked out news items on the internet and discovered Carl's obituary. Carl must have beamed me in. Please accept my prayers and condolences.
Jacqui Keller
July 26, 2007
Dear Janaan,
On behalf of NCEA (National Catholic Educational Association)and especially the Department of Religious Education, I offer our deepest condolences to you on the death of Carl. Having been away from the offfice when the sad news first broke, I missed the earliest opportunity to send greetings. You and Carl wrote for us often and so well: The Family Piece and other resources that still nourish a new generation of catechists. Thank you. I pray that you find comfort and consolation in your faith, family and dear friends far and wide. With deepest sympathy,
Diana Dudoit Raiche
July 20, 2007
My sincerest sympathy, Janaan. I heard the news while I was away on vacation so I hope you understand that this is a bit late. I DO KEEP YOU AND FAMILY in my prayers. My love and prayers, Nila Meyerhofer,OSF.
Nila Meyerhofer
July 20, 2007
Dear Janaan,
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family! I met you and Carl at several workshops that you gave for the diocese of Des Moines. Both of you have had such a huge impact on the catechetical world. I am grateful for all that I have learned from you and Carl. My deepest sympathies to you.
Mary Green
July 19, 2007
Janaan and family, I am keeping you all in my prayers as your morn and celebrate Carl's life. Carl enriched my life and ministry in so many ways.
Don Kurre
Don Kurre
July 18, 2007
Dear Janaan,
I have been out of town for two weeks going to school and I just saw the notice about Carl.
Please know of my love and support during this time of sorrow.
You and Carl taught me so much and I have thought of both of you often. Working with both of you on "Getting Ready for Sunday!" was a transforming experience.
You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Barbara Rund, OP
July 17, 2007
Dearest Janaan and family, My sincere sympathy and prayers. I have been associated with Silver Burdett and Ginn for some twenty-seven years, I have read many of Carl's books, I used his book in teacher training sessions in St. Louis, I participated in many catechetical meetings and lectures given by Carl. What an outstanding man. Meeting Jesus face to face must be the greatest wonder for prayers are with you all. Dotty
Dotty Sanning
July 17, 2007
Dear, DEAR Janaan: Here's a big hug for you! So many days, afternoons and evenings by Carl's side. Now that stretch of your watch is over. Makes you look back and realize that the burden was never truly a burden but a privilege!

Janaan, my heart goes out to you. I was out of town -- in Buffalo, NY, at the 10th National Black Catholic Congress -- from July 11 to 14th. Even saw the magnificent Niagara Falls for the first time, husband Andre in tow! Didn't hear of your loss until I called the office and Mary Esslinger told me she had forwarded to my e-mail a beautiful write up about Carl and you.

I want to encourage you in this present moment to remember your duty to tell as many people as possible about the saving grace of Jesus which Carl and you both testified to throughout your remarkable lives. This duty is the only purpose for going on with living!

PLEASE try to remember to let me know when you will come my way again; I will move everything from my schedule to get to see you.

I know you miss Carl and are comforted by the promises of Our Lord. If there ever comes a time when you cannot bear the alone-ness of your new state, focus all the harder on uniting your suffering with Christ's. People think life is all about comfort and joy, and much of it can be. But the Christian walk is one of suffering, of self-denial, of loving so deeply that it hurts.

I learned recently that, of the seven churches the Lord addressed in the Book of Revelation, the little church at Smyrna suffered the most. In a city dotted everywhere with pagan altars and idols, Smyrna's Christians refused to worship Caesar, to compromise their stand for Christ. You well know that their bishop, Polycarp, chose a fiery death rather than blaspheme his king. How noteworthy it is, then, that Smyrna remains the only city among the seven cited in Revelation that still has prominence. Today Smyrna is the modern city of Ismir, the third most populous city of Turkey. The 2005 population of its urban zone was estimated over 3,500,000; its costal section home still to an overwhelming Christian population!

I believe this fact should speak volumes to Christians today, for it says, at least to me, that the mark of a "living church" is love of and suffering for the Gospel! Suffering will bring Christians together and to God in Christ like nothing else.

Also, Janaan, "Smyrna" is the same word used for the word "myrrh." In fact, ancient Smyrna was known for the selling of myrrh, which, when burned, produced a smoke that is heavy, bitter, and with a slight vanilla sweetness. So you really can't smell it until it is crushed, and the more you crush myrrh, the sweeter the aroma!

So carry on for the Lord, Janaan, and those of us who treasure you in our lives. I hope I don't sound too preachy; I just want to encourage you!

P.S. I've been accumulating some wonderful books for you. I will ship them today via snails mail (smile).
Carole Greene
July 16, 2007
On behalf of NCCL (National Conference for Catechetical Leadership)and all its members, I wish to extend our condolences to Janaan. Together they were a dynamic duo who helped us all fall deeply in love with Jesus. Their love for one another made their message more vibrant and life-giving. Thanks. May our prayers sustain Janaan in this loss. Carl now rests in the palm of the one who loved him before he was even in his mother's womb.
Leland Nagel
July 16, 2007
I am a member of St. John the Bapstist Community in Silver Spring, MD. I have been a Catehist and Curriculum Planner there for over 25 years. I remember many years back when our then DRE, Pat Roberts, arranged for both you and Carl to speak at one of our curriculum planning evenings. I remember being very impressed with the presentation that you and Carl made. I thank both of you for your contribution to religious education. I am saddened by your loss but rejoice that Carl is at peace and resting in the Lord.
God bless!
Rosemary Treichel
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences