Leslie Louis Pulfer, 90, was born January 22, 1932 in Elgin, IA to John and Ida (Fischer) Pulfer. He died peacefully on Monday, May 16, 2022 at Apostolic Christian Restmor Nursing Home in Morton at 10:18 pm. He married Wilma Fae Wettstein on July 18, 1954. She preceded him in death on December 31, 2020.
Surviving are four children, Jeffrey of Washington, IL, Kathleen of Pekin, IL, Eldon of Green Valley, IL, and Doris (Ken) Miller of Hennepin, IL; five grandchildren, Dr. Melissa Mitchell of Bellaire, TX; Matthew Miller, Trent Miller of Hennepin, IL; Rena Pulfer and Cory Pulfer of Bowdoin, ME; five great grandchildren, Elle, Lauryn, Macy, Edward Jr. Mitchell, and Micah Gordon; and two sisters, Norma Butikofer of Gridley and Lois Winter of Olewein, IA.
He was preceded in death by his parents, one brother, John, four sisters, Imogene, Helen Jacobs, Bertha (Funk) and Ruth Rinkenberger.
Les grew up on a farm outside of Elgin, Iowa. He attended Hawkeye Clermont High School where he also played basketball. He joined the U.S. Marines in 1951 where he was stationed at Camp Pendelton, CA. He served as an anti-aircraft squad leader during the Korean War, attaining the rank of sergeant. He and was honorably discharged in 1952 after the death of his father, John Pulfer. He earned a certificate in Dairy Plant Operation from Iowa State College in Ames, IA in 1956. He attended Spoon River College and Illinois State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business from Illinois State in 1971.
Les moved to Pekin in 1956 to take a job as a lab technician with the Borden Milk Company. After three years, he went to work for Standard Brands Inc., where he served as a superintendent of manufacturing. After 13 years at Standard Brands, he worked briefly for Soldwedel All Star Dairy of Canton before moving on to the Department of Agriculture in Springfield where he worked in the warehouse division, internal audits and finally the Bureau of Animal Health. During his career with the department, he was responsible for inspecting livestock at the Illinois State Fair, for running a pilot project to combat pseudorabies and for the effort to rid Illinois of brucellosis. Les took early retirement from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, when he was assistant administrator for the Bureau of Animal Health, but he kept working. He was the food inspector for the Tazewell County Health Department for three years and then served as a contract worker, ensuring tanning booths in the county met safety standards.
Les accepted Christ as his Savior and was baptized at the Apostolic Christian Church in Tremont in 1967. He spent 20 years serving as the church’s treasurer of the building fund. He was also instrumental in setting up an outreach program to help the lives of Filipinos living in rural areas.
Les was very active in his community. Les was a member of the Pekin Jaycees. Part of the Jaycee Pledge is: “Service to humanity is the best work of Life!” Les epitomized that statement. He was an advisor to Junior Achievement in Pekin from 1959-64: president of the Boys Club of Pekin 1969-1971; Vice-President of Boys Club National Board of Directors; President of Shade Youth Camp, 1975-79, Pekin Leaders of Youth, 1963-1971; Past Commander of American Legion Post #44; Member of the Pekin AMVETs; Member of the Marine Corp League; Member of the Elks; and as a Precinct Committee Member for the Republican Party. The Pekin Jaycees recognized him in 1964 with the Distinguished Service Award. He was also named in the 1961 edition of Outstanding Young Men of American the 1980-81 edition of Who’s Who in the Midwest, and the Men of Achievement in 1981.
As president of the Boy’s Club, Les brought the U.S. Navy Band to Pekin to perform to raise funds of the club. During his years in the American Legion he was instrumental in founding the American Legion baseball team, which still exists.
Les also served on the advisory board for the Central Illinois Council on Aging and volunteered to answer senior citizen’s insurance questions through the Senior Health Insurance Program.
Les loved to research and invest in the Stock Market. He was one of the founding members of the Celestial Investors of Pekin and was a local leader and officer in the National Association of Investors Corporation. He helped conduct a number of seminar on teaching individuals of stock investing.
Les was proud of his Swiss-American Heritage and had a life-long passion of listening to “Polka Music” and Swiss Yodeling. Elgin, Iowa, where he was born is considered to be the “Little Switzerland of Iowa”. Les enjoyed traveling and took several trips overseas with his wife.
After a lifetime of work and public service Les claimed the title of “chief pan washer” at the Miller Center in Pekin’s noon luncheons.
His funeral will be at 10:00 am Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at the Apostolic Christian Church in Tremont. Ministers of the church will officiate. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 pm Tuesday at Davis-Oswald Funeral Home in Tremont and from 9:00 to 9:45 am Wednesday at the church. Service will be broadcast on Davis-Oswald Funeral Home Facebook page. Burial will be in Apostolic Christian Cemetery in Tremont.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Apostolic Christian Harvest Call. https://www.harvestcall.org/
Boys and Girls Clubs of America https://www.bgca.org/
Les was very involved with them at one time along with:
Junior Achievement of Central Illinois https://www.juniorachievement.org/web/ja-centralillinois
More recently he was involved with the Miller Senior Citizens Center in Pekin, which is also a non-profit 551 S 14th St, Pekin, IL 61554
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