Best Dreamer Phoenix 2009 - Jack Pfister
If we were tacky, we'd give an award for "Best Place to Hold a Memorial Service," and the winner would be the Orpheum Theater. Restored to its glory, trimmed with gold and capped with a breathtaking deep blue, star-strewn ceiling, it's a great place to see a show and an even better place to remember a dreamer.
Fancy-pants elected officials and business types rose one Saturday this summer to honor Jack Pfister, who passed away after a lifetime of public service. They did a nice job. But we could have sat longer that Saturday afternoon; we would have liked to hear from those who saw another side — some would say pointless, others idealistic — of the former utility executive and regent.
Like Loretta Avent, who knew Pfister from their days together on the Harmony Alliance, a multicultural meeting of the minds that began in the early 1990s and drew folks to a different house of worship each week.
"He believed that every cause could be helped — and he helped everyone who came to him," says Avent. She should know; over the years she asked her friend for help with some sticky ones.
And no one mentioned our personal favorite memory of Pfister — the time he stood up to then-Governor J. Fife Symington and his staff during the Project SLIM (State Long-Term Improved Management) scandal. He surely lost friends over that one. No matter. Jack Pfister's real friends packed the Orpheum this summer to remember a man who dared to dream and in so doing, touched many people — and a city.