A $20,000 bequest from the estate of a longtime Batavia physical education teacher is nothing short of a godsend, according to a spokeswoman for the Genesee Symphony Orchestra, a not-for-profit organization in perpetual motion to keep the music alive.
“The directors of the symphony are constantly conducting fundraisers and asking for donations, so when we get money given to us like this, we’re just unbelievably happy,” said Roxie Choate, GSO personnel director.
The GSO was one of 11 different nonprofit entities to receive $20,000 gifts from the estate of Joan Pfeifer, a gym teacher in the Batavia City School District for 36 years prior to her retirement in 1984.
Pfeifer passed away on March 11 of this year at the age of 88.
Choate said she remembered seeing Pfeifer, a lifelong Batavian, at GSO concerts.
“I saw her at the concerts, and my husband played tennis with her at times,” said Choate, adding that Pfeifer (known as Miss Pfeifer to all of her students) was her elementary gym teacher.
Pfeifer, a 1945 Batavia High School graduate, went on to obtain her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SUNY Brockport and University of Buffalo, respectively.
She was active in the community as a volunteer at United Memorial Medical Center and Meals on Wheels, and also was treasurer of the NYS Softball Officials organization, and had leadership roles in the Genesee Tennis Club and Midtown Tennis Club of Rochester.
She was a member of St. James Episcopal Church.
Choate said the funds from the Pfeifer estate will be go a long way to meeting the GSO’s budgetary requirements.
“We’re going to put part of it into an endowment fund, and we also need a new computer and a program to be able to keep track of payments to the performers, and eventually we will have to buy a new set of tympani,” she said.
David Metzler, Pfeifer’s executor, and partner in the Batavia law firm of Rybak, Metzler and Grasso, said the other beneficiaries were St. James Episcopal Church, Batavia Cemetery Association, Elmwood Cemetery, Genesee Area YMCA, Crossroads House, Genesee Cancer Assistance, HomeCare & Hospice, Humane Society at Lollipop Farms, Volunteers for Animals and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.
“These charities were near and dear to her heart,” said Metzler, who noted that he knew Pfeifer for about 10 years. “She was always giving money (to various causes). Yes, she was a very generous person.”