Nelson “Hank” Pfister

Nelson Henry “Hank” Pfister, age 79, of Santa Barbara, CA, passed away on Oct. 15, 2018 surrounded by family following his long-term and valiant battle with Parkinson’s disease. He fought the disease in the way he led his life: with grace, care for the people around him, grit and faith in God.

Hank was born in 1939 and raised in Burbank, CA. Upon graduation from the University of Southern California in 1961, he was commissioned an Ensign in the U. S. Navy and assigned to the USS Renshaw, a destroyer based in Pearl Harbor. By the end of his three-year stint, which included service in Vietnam, he had been promoted to Chief Engineer.

His Navy service matured Hank and prepared him for a life that included a love for his country and an abiding patriotism that remained steadfast his entire life. Throughout his service to his country and later as an election volunteer, he believed deeply in the democratic process.

As he transitioned to civilian life and returned to USC for his Masters in Business Administration, he met the love of his life, fellow student Andrea Haley of Ventura County, CA. The couple raised their two children, Eric and Marilee in Newport Beach.

While Hank held a number of senior management positions, he felt work was a means of ensuring his family was cared for and as a backdrop to do what was really important in life: spending time with his wife, his children and his friends. He adored coaching youth sports and sharing his passion for skiing and the mountains. Other times he could be found in the garage repairing something for a friend.

Hank and Andrea moved to Santa Barbara in 2001, where he became well known for his volunteerism and leadership in several community organizations. His values of respect, integrity and honesty were hallmarks in each organization in which he volunteered or led – as well as his remarkable ability to make those around him feel special. His sense of humor was legend.

Hank is survived by his loved and loving wife Andrea; son Eric, daughter-in-law Malia, and their children Katherine and Davis; and daughter, Marilee, son-in-law Ron Grossheim, and their children, Emma and Haley. The family would like to thank all of Hank’s caregivers who supported him and Andrea in the decade that he fought Parkinson’s, especially Dan, Pam and Sofia.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Hank’s memory may be made to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society ( or the Parkinson’s Association of Santa Barbara.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 at 11 a.m. at All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal
Church in Montecito. His ashes will be interred in the family plot at Ivy Lawn Cemetery in Ventura, CA.


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