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Alumni profile: Stay busy, have fun

8:45 AM  Sep 8th, 2017
by Debbie Juniewicz

Retirement is anything but restful for David Pfriem ’66, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

The 73-year-old is putting his English degree to use as he finishes his second memoir and is in the early stages of writing a novel.  

“I’ve met so many interesting people over the years, I’m going to try to weave them into a story,” he said. “The most important thing, though, is to have fun, and I’m having fun.”

That fun includes visiting with grandchildren, volunteering as a docent and working part time at a condo complex. For Pfriem, staying active is crucial: He equates staying busy with staying vibrant.

“I’ve seen people retire and waste away,” he said. “You need to keep going until you can’t, or you really won’t enjoy life.”

Pfriem’s nontraditional retirement follows a pattern, as he was also a nontraditional college student, making his vows as a Marianist brother a year prior to enrolling at the University of Dayton in 1962.

Dorm living and campus life were not the norm as he lived in community at Mount Saint John and commuted. He chronicled his life as a Marianist in his first memoir, Uncommon Bonds, published in 2009, a work he said “could prove to be an amusing read” for current students and alumni alike.

He left the order in 1967 — after teaching for a year at Cincinnati’s Purcell High School — and while it was an incredibly tough decision,
he said he has no regrets.

From teaching and curriculum development to his work in the field of developmental disabilities, one thing has been a constant: the impact of the University of Dayton.

“Developing an intellectual curiosity and understanding intellectual freedom — I can’t say enough about my Marianist education,” Pfriem said.

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