Rev. Capt. James Dixon Pfannenstiel was born to Frank Herman Pfannenstiel and Ernestine Louise Carmichael in Milwaukee, WI, on July 19, 1935, and died peacefully, with his family by his side, at his home on Sunday, June 8, 2014, in rural Door County.
He graduated from Grinnell College (BA History), Garrett Theological Seminary (MA Divinity) and Indiana University (MA Journalism). In 1962, he was ordained an elder in the Methodist Church, shortly thereafter he was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps.
James served his country with distinction for 23 years, including one year in Southeast Asia, retiring in 1985 in the rank of Captain (O6). He then worked in higher education and as a partner in a fundraising firm. No longer able to ignore the call of the Holy Spirit, he accepted an appointment to the Asbury United Methodist Church (1999-2002) in La Crosse, WI, claiming this was his life’s most meaningful work.
James married Janet Alice Wordell in 1962, and that marriage ended in divorce. He married Susan Lynne Wirnsberger in 2002, after which they moved to rural Door County to live out their retirement. In retirement he was blessed to serve the Belmont and Whig United Methodist Churches near Platteville, WI, as interim pastor for five months.
Survivors include his wife, Susan, daughters, Lynn (Greg) Gratkowski, Julie (Sean Medley) Pfannenstiel, and son, Michael (Michelle) Pfannenstiel. Also survived by stepchildren Thomas and Jeffrey Wirnsberger, Lynda (Michael) Murray. He will be missed by his grandchildren Jacob, Abigail and Isabel Lackey, Emma and Olivia Murray, Nick Ragner and Spencer Bloss; and his brother, Robert (Carolyn) Bouck.
The funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, June 16, 2014, at the Sturgeon Bay United Methodist Church with Rev. Mel Henrichs officiating. Friends may call at the church on Monday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service.
Committal will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, at Walnut Hill Cemetery, 1805 East St., Baraboo, WI. Followed by a luncheon at the Garden Party Restaurant, 523 Oak Street, Baraboo, WI. **Please confirm with Huehns Funeral Home (920-743-5635) prior to the funeral if you will be attending the meal.**
Huehns Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Sturgeon Bay is assisting the Pfannenstiel family. Rather than floral offerings, please direct memorials to the Admiral Nimitz Foundation, 328 East Main St., Fredericksburg, Texas 78624 or through the website www.PacificWarMuseum.org. When donating on-line, please indicate that it is a memorial for Chaplain Pfannenstiel.
“You aren’t likely to be sent out under the will of God to do startling, impossible things. You are likely to be sent out to do the quiet, unspectacular things that matter. Precisely where you are and with what you have.” –author unknown Mizpah.
Online condolences and guestbook signing may be offered at www.huehnsfuneralhome.com.