Marcella “Mardy” Pfeifer

Marcella “Mardy” Pfeifer (86) of LaVista, Nebraska died peacefully on September 2, 2023 at the Josie Harper Hospice House after a seven-month illness.

Mardy was born Dec. 15, 1936 in Humphrey, Nebraska to Cecelia and Joe Fuchs. The tenth of eleven children, she attended Humphrey St. Francis high school while helping her dad with farm chores, including milking cows, feeding pigs and chickens, and gathering eggs.

After graduating, she dreamed of becoming a nurse but couldn’t afford tuition for nursing school. Instead, she went to work in Norfolk as a telephone operator with her sister Eileen.

She met Dave Pfeifer at a dance in Platte Center, Neb. and she said it was love at first sight for her. They were married April 26, 1958 and Dave’s eleven brothers and sisters welcomed Mardy into the Pfeifer family with open arms.

Mardy and Dave moved to Omaha where he worked as a machinist for Western Electric and she continued as a telephone operator until she became pregnant with her first daughter. She said the phone company didn’t allow pregnant women to work so she had to give up her job.

Dave and Mardy had a wonderful marriage that produced three daughters, Deborah, Jackie and Connie. They eventually moved to Papillion where Mardy was active with St. Columbkille church and school. Her hobbies included bowling, reading, playing cards and gardening. Homegrown lettuce and tomatoes were staples at family meals.

The family took many special camping vacations, including Mardy’s favorite – a two-week trip through the Canadian Rockies.

Mardy was a stay-at-home mom while her children were small but eventually re-entered the workforce. While she never fulfilled her dream of working as a nurse, she did work in the health care industry. She thoroughly loved her job at First Health Physicians in Papillion where she supervised the receptionists for 11 doctors. When Dave died Feb.12 1989, her job and the friends she made with her co-workers were her refuge. Those friendships continued to thrive after Mardy retired and until her last days.

Mardy was a fiercely independent woman and her daughters learned from her example. She stood out – not because she tried – she just did. She was 5-foot-9, which was tall for a woman of her generation. In spite of that, she loved wearing high heels.  Her signature red lipstick and striking red hair also made her stand out. Back in the day, she dyed her hair a particular shade of auburn and then had it teased, styled and piled up high as they did in that time. This led to her brother-in-law Onie nicknaming her “Big Red.” Everyone called her Big Red.

The nickname served dual purpose. Many – including her own children – thought she was called Big Red because of her crazy obsession with Nebraska Cornhusker football. Saturdays were for listening to the Huskers on the radio in the early days, and later watching them on television. She not only watched football, she understood it. She could spot a clip or a hold on a play. She could explain why you want to get a first down outside the 10-yard line. She knew the difference between a tight-end and a defensive end and she taught her love of football to her daughters.

Mardy also was a big College World Series fan. She and Dave purchased season tickets more than 40 years ago after they randomly attended a game. They’d visited the zoo and decided to check out the commotion across the street at Rosenblatt. After watching a game that day, they were hooked. Each year, Dave then took off work so they could attend every single game along with Mardy’s sister Betty, tailgating in the Rosenblatt parking lot between games. Later, Connie attended games with her mom, with friends and grandchildren taking turns joining them.

Mardy’s love of sports wasn’t confined to football and baseball. She’d watch whatever sport was on television – golf, bowling, tennis or whatever state high school championship was in the works. Wrestling was her favorite. She liked to cheer for the teams around Humphrey or Madison. She always cheered for the underdog, unless, of course, Nebraska was favored.

Mardy was very loved as mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend. Her sassy, sarcastic sense of humor will be remembered by all who knew her, including the Hospice nurses who she amused with her personality.

She was preceded in death by her husband, David J. Pfeifer. She is survived by her daughters: Deborah George of Olathe, Kansas, Jackie (Terry) Kroeger of Omaha and Connie Pfeifer of LaVista. She has six grandchildren, Jennifer (Mark) Stone of Olathe, Kansas, James (Melissa) George of  Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Molly (Nate) Kuta of Omaha, Maggie Kroeger of Valencia, California, Ellie Kroeger of Chicago, Illinois and Jake Kroeger of Lincoln.

Visitation Sunday, September 10th from 3:00 to 5:00, with Vigil Service at 5:00 at West Center Chapel

Mass of Christian Burial, 10:30am Monday, September 11th at St. Columbkille Church, 200 East 6th Street in Papillion.

The family asks that those attending the funeral dress in your favorite cheerful attire, to help in making this a celebration of a life well lived.

Memorials are suggested either to Josie Harper Hospice House or St. Columbkille Church and School.


  • Carol Lewis Posted September 5, 2023 8:42 pm

    My sympathies to Mardy’s family. Through my good friend and her daughter, Deborah, I had the pleasure of visiting with Mardy a couple of times; once visiting overnight at her Nebraska home and attending a Pfeifer family reunion. What a fantastic family. I know she will be so greatly missed by anyone who knew her but most profoundly by her family. God’s peace to each of you.

  • Victoria Littler Posted September 6, 2023 12:02 pm

    Sorry for your loss. You are in our prayers.

  • Westside Community School Foundation Posted September 7, 2023 10:27 am

    Our deepest sympathy to Jackie & Terry Kroeger and the entire Pfeifer family.

  • Nancy Cariglio Posted September 9, 2023 10:39 am

    Deborah and family, I was so sorry to hear of your loss. I am keeping Mardy in my prayers and all of you that the Lord will bring you comfort and peace.

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