He was one of five children to parents, Christian and Fanny Groff Peifer. At the age of 6, Mel lost his father to a rare farming accident that took his life. His siblings included Glenn, Chris, Irene, and Joanne. When his mother was not able to care for all the children, each boy went to live with an uncle and aunt.
On February 7, 1953, Mel married his high school sweetheart, E. Joanne Andrew, who passed away in 2009. They were married 56 years. Together they had 3 sons, Jeffrey, husband of Candace Cummings, Michael, husband of Linda Kreider, and Steven. Steven had downs syndrome and passed away in 1980 from complications to pneumonia. He left the family with many fond memories of fun-filled years. They also had five grandchildren, Jeremy husband of Tara Mickey Peifer, Mandy wife of Chad Reed, Jamie husband of Kristin Harris Peifer, Steve Peifer, Lance husband of Chelsea Shank Peifer, and eight great grandchildren, Hunter Reed, Justin Peifer, Hollis Reed, Stella Peifer, Hadley Reed, Dax Peifer, Brogan Peifer and Lucy Peifer. Growing up on the farm, he developed a good work ethic and a fond admiration for the Holstein cow.
In 1955, Mel and Joanne rented their first farm south of Lancaster. In 1966, they purchased their first farm in Canton, PA, Bradford County, know as East-Knoll Holsteins. Due to his love of buying and selling Holsteins, in 1970, Mel and other prominent dairymen from Bradford County and New York began the syndicate known as Bradford Banner Breeders.
In 1987, Mel and Joanne moved back to Lancaster County where he continued to pursue his passion of dealing cattle. Because of his love for sports, he played in various basketball leagues in Lancaster and spent many summers playing fast pitch softball. His favorite thing to do was spend time with family, especially the summer vacations at OCNJ.
He was a faithful supporter of his boys, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren’s sporting events and activities. Mel was a member of the Worship Center, Leola, PA. He also belonged to the Bradford County and Lancaster Holstein clubs. He was a delegate to the National Holstein Conventions.
In 2018, he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Holstein Hall of Fame. In 2010, Mel married Arlene Hurst. Arlene’s children include the late Karen, (wife of Jerri, now husband of Cindy Parmer), Diane, wife of Michael Vincent, Janice, wife of Lynn Burkholder, Lori, wife of Steve Siwy, 11 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.
Mel’s love, generosity, and compassion will be missed by all who knew him. An outdoor viewing will take place on Thursday, May 21, 2020, at Reynolds and Shivery Funeral Home, 144 East State Street, Quarryville, from 11 am-12 noon. Instructions will be given upon arrival. Services will take place at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Worship Center’s Building Fund, 2384 New Holland Pike, Lancaster, PA 17601. reynoldsandshivery.com