John Pfeil

Distinguished Service Award of the Order of the Arrow


Brother John M. Pfeil was a dedicated family man who believed that the Boy Scout organization would help boys become better men both in spirit and leadership. Although John was never a Boy Scout himself, he entered Scouting as a troop committeeman in 1929. He became a part of East Boroughs Council, serving on its executive board of directors as chairman of the camping committee beginning in 1934.

John lived in Edgewood Pennsylvania (outside of Pittsburgh) and was the Director of Edward A. Woods Company, an insurance company that was located in Swissvale Pennsylvania. He was also an electrical engineer by trade. John was an active member of the Pittsburgh and Swissvale Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of Rotary International and was a Past Governor of the 33rd District of Rotary International. 

John was married to Elizabeth Boas-Pfeil who passed away on October 6, 1944. He had two children, Elizabeth P. Pfeil-Stotler and John M. Pfeil, Jr. John Jr. served in the U.S. Army as a Lieutenant during World War II in Europe. Mr. Pfeil’s only son is an Eagle Scout. John Sr. remarried a Cecelia Taft and lived with her in the Penn-Sheraton Hotel, now called the Omni-William Penn Hotel located in downtown Pittsburgh. The couple moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in their later years.

John was inducted into Anicus Lodge, #67 as a chartered member in 1933 and was made a Vigil member in the spring of 1938. He was one of the adult contingent members for Anicus Lodge that went to Camp Irondale located near St. Louis, Missouri in 1938. Here, John and other Anicus members, lobbied the National Officers to have the silver anniversary meeting of the Order of the Arrow at Camp Twin Echo, located near Ligonier Pennsylvania.

At the 25th Anniversary National Meeting at Camp Twin Echo, John was one of the key three members during this historic meeting. Together, with the financial help of Rotary, Kiwanis, Masonic organizations and Westinghouse Corporation, Camp Twin Echo was prepared to receive the many lodges that attended this historic national meeting. 

Brother Pfeil also served as a member of the Order of the Arrow Region 3 Executive Committee. John also served on the National Executive Board for the Order of the Arrow for many years. He was selected to serve on the National Board while attending the 1946 Order of the Arrow National Meeting at Chanute Field Army Air Corp Base in Illinois.  

Brother Pfeil was awarded the Silver Antelope for Scouting Service in 1948. It was presented to him at the Region Three annual meeting at Buck Hill Falls. He was cited for his genuine desire to encourage boys to be “physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”

In 1952, Brother Pfeil was awarded the Distinguished Service Award at the Order of the Arrow National Conference held at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio during the closing show. 

Brother John passed away on February 1, 1959 in Fort Lauderdale Florida. He was survived by his second wife Cecelia Taft-Pfeil and his two children. John bequeathed in his estate of $405,087.00 that the Boy Scouts receive $3,000.00, roughly worth $24,000 in today’s money.