Robert M. Pifferini, Sr.
Oct. 1, 1922 - Dec. 9, 2017
Resident of Capitola
Robert M. Pifferini, Sr. was born in Oakdale, California on October 1, 1922 to Joseph and Katie Pifferini. He died on December 9, 2017 at the age of 95. Bob spent his childhood in Modesto and excelled in athletics at Modesto High School and Modesto Junior College. After completing his degree as a three sport athlete at Modesto Junior College, Bob enlisted in the United States Army and served four years in the South Pacific in World War II. As a soldier, Bob received many commendations including the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal, the Bronze Medal for the New Guinea Campaign and the Bronze Medal for the Luzon Campaign. As a soldier during WWII, Bob was a Technical Sergeant responsible for the coordination and control of 56 men in combat. After being honorably discharged, Bob attended San Jose State University and played football, basketball and baseball for the Spartans. At San Jose State, Bob, the team football captain, met and married his wife Gaynell Miller, the 1st Spartan Homecoming Queen. After San Jose State, Bob played in the NFL for the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers. Prior to Bob's death, he was listed as the second oldest living Detroit Lion alumni and the sixteenth oldest living NFL alumni. Bob Pifferini, "Coach Piff" was an instructor and coach at Lodi High School for 7 years before becoming a long time tenured instructor and coach at Foothill College and DeAnza College for over 40 years; coaching football, baseball and golf. He was Foothill College's first Head Baseball Coach and DeAnza College's first Head Football Coach. His success as an athlete and coach led him into four "Hall of Fames" including the Modesto Junior College Hall of Fame as a player, the San Jose State Sports Hall of Fame as a player, the DeAnza Junior College Hall of Fame as a coach and the California Community College Hall of Fame as a player and coach. Bob and his wife Gaynell were active members at Grace Bible Church in Campbell, CA and Bob was an active member of SIRS. He was an avid golfer until he was 91 and he loved watching his children and grandchildren excel in sports, music and dance. Bob was preceded in death by his loving wife of 60 years Gaynell, parents Joseph and Katie, and sister's Hilda, May and Doris. He is survived by his sister Lili Rice, brother Ray Pifferini, son Bob Pifferini Jr., his wife Lark, son Jess Pifferini, daughter Trina Rettig, her husband Glenn, son Roc Pifferini, his wife Joanna, daughter RaeAnn Scheidt, her husband Rick and 9 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. The family would like to thank Imelda Zarate for her extraordinary care of Bob for many years. Bob deeply appreciated Imelda's loving care. In lieu of flowers, Bob would like people to make a donation to the Central Valley Honor Flight. Checks can be made out to the Central Valley Community Foundation (memo line: Central Valley Honor Flight). The address is Central Valley Community Foundation 5260 N. Palm Ave. #122, Fresno, CA. 93704. Donations can also be made online by going to cvhonorflight.org
. A memorial service will be held at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery at 11:30 am on Friday, January 5, 2018. View the online memorial for Robert M. Pifferini, Sr.
Published by San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Dec. 17, 2017.