AgriLife Extension mourns loss of long-time former director Dan Pfannstiel

Writer: Kathleen Phillips, 979-845-2872,

COLLEGE STATION — Dr. Daniel Pfannstiel, who served more than 40 years with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service including six as its director, died March 5. He was 88.

A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. March 10 at Callaway-Jones Funeral Center in Bryan with interment to follow at the College Station Cemetery.

Pfannstiel in his later years fondly recalled his early career, which began as an assistant county agent for AgriLife Extension, and said his best work was “an effort to educate under-served people about better nutrition.”

In the late 1960s, Pfannstiel, who was raised near San Antonio, felt the agency needed to target “the needs of the ever-growing low-income Hispanic population” by teaching nutrition, food safety, wise food shopping and how to prepare food.

“We worked with a social research scientist who found that this audience could be reached by training paraprofessional educators,” Pfannstiel said in an AgriLife Today interview. That project ultimately became AgriLife Extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.

For that work and a lifetime of leading the educational programs of AgriLife Extension, Pfannstiel was inducted in 2010 to the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame in Guadalajara, Mexico.

After graduating from Texas A&M University in 1949, Pfannstiel began his AgriLife Extension career as assistant agent in Guadalupe County and was later a county agent in Wharton, Bee and Matagorda counties. In 1955, he was assigned to College Station as county agent-at-large. In 1959, after earning a doctorate in cooperative Extension administration at the University of Wisconsin, Pfannstiel returned to Texas as assistant director of the agency until 1971. He was associate director from 1971-76 and then was director from 1976-82.

He was known as an astute manager who brought “increasing efficiencies” to the agency’s administration, according to notes of the late Dr. John E. Hutchison, former AgriLife Extension director. His doctoral studies, “Criteria for Determining Financial Support of County Agricultural Extension Work in Texas,” is still cited because it provided an estimate for a county’s share in the cost of an agent based on a formula he developed to measure workload.

Later, Pfannstiel’s interest in non-traditional audiences led him to about 25 developing countries where he served as a consultant for the U.S. Extension model to enhance those country’s agriculture industry.

After leaving his position as director in September 1982, Pfannstiel joined the Texas A&M department of agricultural education. He officially retired in 1992 as director emeritus and professor emeritus.

Pfannstiel was preceded in death by his wife Shirley and their son Robin. Survivors include son, David and wife Jan Pfannstiel of College Station; son, Kerry Pfannstiel of College Station; daughter-in-law, Betsy Pfannstiel of Fredericksburg; daughter, Diana and husband Russell Riepe of San Marcos; sister, Enomie Real of San Antonio; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Crestview Retirement Community at 2505 E. Villa Maria Road, Bryan, TX 77802.


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