August “Gus” Pfaehler, 90, passed away peacefully at his home in Bozeman, Montana, surrounded by loved ones on July 24, 2021. Gus lived a full and happy life.
He was born in Riverside, New Jersey, on Nov. 24, 1930, to Rose Denning and Adolph Pfaehler. From humble beginnings, he enlisted in the United States Air Force at 21 and spent four years serving in Mississippi, Illinois, and France, achieving the rank of staff sergeant. Upon his honorable discharge, he hitchhiked across the country until he reached California. There he first took a job in the U.S. Forest Service before beginning a successful business career.
Living and working in California, Gus enjoyed an exciting life. He could often be found flying his Cessna to Las Vegas, or driving his gold Porsche 911 along the coast, in between prospecting for gold in the desert, searching for gems in Australia, and climbing the ladder at RCA, Fairchild, and National Semiconductor Corporation (NSC).
Working in the semiconductor industry, he met his wife, Kären Schwarz, and married her on April 24, 1982, in Mountain View, California. They spent the early years of their marriage fishing, growing orchids, gardening, and raising geese. Ahead of his time in many ways, Gus holds the patent for the Fox Haul Dolly and invented other products.
Gus’ career then took the couple to Hong Kong and Bangkok, where he was managing director for the NSC manufacturing plants in those countries. While in Hong Kong, they welcomed their only daughter Jaclyn, who was the light of his life. The family then relocated to Bangkok, where, in addition to overseeing all operations in the plant, Gus interfaced with prominent government officials including the Prime Minster and the Princess of Thailand.
Upon returning to the U.S., Gus worked briefly in Salt Lake City, Utah, before retiring to Bozeman, Montana. Out of all the places he visited and lived, Montana was his favorite. He would often say, “I’m never leaving Montana.” And he didn’t.
For 26 years he lived happily, pursuing his interests: fishing, hunting, gardening, and politics. He loved animals, especially dogs, and had two yellow Labrador Retrievers, two Pembroke Welsh Corgis, several cats, a few horses, and a flock of chickens. He was also a gifted carpenter, and he built many pieces for Resurrection University Catholic Parish, including the ossuary and pedestals for the statues of Mary and Joseph.
He is preceded in death by his mother, father, and sisters Babe, Jane, and Christine. He is survived by his: wife of 39 years, Kären; daughter Jaclyn and her husband Dr. Andrew Welles; his grandchildren Leo and Fiona Welles; and brother Franklin and his wife Dawn Garrison.
His funeral mass will take place on Friday, July 30, 2021, at 10 a.m. at Resurrection Catholic Parish in Bozeman. He will then be interned at Sunset Hills Cemetery, followed by a remembrance lunch at the church.
Monetary memorial donations can be made in Gus’ honor to the Resurrection Parish Building Fund, 1725 S 11th Ave, Bozeman, MT 59715. If you would like to honor Gus in another way, go fishing, drive a fast car, fly a plane, or do whatever makes you happy; life is too short, no matter how long you live.