John Charles Pritzlaff, Jr. died peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Monday, May 2, 2005. John was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 10, 1925.
He was the beloved son of Elinor Gallun Pritzlaff and John Charles Pritzlaff, Sr. Following elementary school at Milwaukee Country Day School, he attended St. Mark's School in Southborough, Massachusetts graduating in 1943. He then entered Princeton University for eighteen months before enlisting in The United States Army Intelligence Corps. During World War II he served in Europe and attained the rank of Technical Sergeant. After the war he returned to Princeton graduating in the class of 1947 with a B.A. in History and Political Science.
Returning to Milwaukee, he joined a four generation family wholesale hardware business, the John C. Pritzlaff Hardware Company, as Vice President of Priorities and General Manager.
It was at this time as well that his involvement in his church, community and politics began. Among other activities in Wisconsin, he became the State Treasurer of the Republican Party. In the Spring of 1948, he met his wife, Mary Dell Olin. They married February 10, 1951. The family lived in Milwaukee before moving to Phoenix, Arizona in 1958.
In Arizona, John continued his involvement in family, business, church, community, and politics. Through his company, Rockmount Real Estate Investments, he was involved in real estate and insurance. He was elected to his first term in the Arizona House of Representatives in 1960. He served four terms and became the first Republican to chair the Appropriations Committee.
In April, 1969, he was appointed by President Nixon as ambassador to Malta, G.C. He served in this capacity until June, 1972. During this period he also served as Special Representative for European Commercial and Economic Affairs.
He and his family returned to Phoenix where in 1974 he was appointed to fill the State Senate seat vacated by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor when she was appointed to the Arizona State Appellate Court. He was in the State Senate for eight years serving as Minority Whip, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Chairman of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. After his retirement from the State Senate in 1982, he remained involved in his community and in public service.
In 1984, Nashotah House Episcopal Seminary in Delafield, Wisconsin conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of his twenty-five years of service on the seminary's Board of Trustees. In 1986, John was knighted in the order of St. John at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, California in recognition of his years of public service and philanthropy.
John's additional community involvement included the following: The Nature Conservancy, Arizona Chapter, Board of Trustees; The Nature Conservancy, The National Board of Governors and Treasurer; The Center for Plant Conservation, Board of Directors; The Desert Botanical Garden, Board of Directors; The Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, Board of Directors; The Heard Museum, Board of Trustees and President; St. Luke's Hospital Board of Trustees; Precinct committeeman; Vestry, St. Barnabas on the Desert Episcopal Church; Chairman, Western States for Goldwater, 1964 Presidential campaign; The Committee to Preserve Camelback Mountain; The Salvation Army, Board of Directors; The ASU Foundation, Board of Directors; The Marshall and Ilsley Trust Company of Arizona, Board of Directors; and Chairman, Governor's Commission on Aging.
In addition to his wife of fifty-four years, Mary Dell Pritzlaff, he is survived by his children Ann (Fife) Symington; John (Ann) Pritzlaff, III, Barbara (Doug) Pierce; and Richard (Sarah) Pritzlaff; twelve grandchildren and four great grandchildren; his sisters, Marjory Yewer and Anne Lindemann; and nineteen nieces and nephews.more » « less