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Thu November 03, 2022
Harvey Leake is the 2022 Recipient of the ZGWS Charles Pfeiffer Award
Harvey Leake become the 6th recipient of the Charles Pfeiffer Award

It seems like only yesterday that we presented the Pfeiffer Award for 2020 to Ed Meyer. But actually, it was a year ago that Ed became the 5th recipient of this prestigious award

Although “the Pfeiffer” is a biennial award, that is, given every other year, we are presenting it this year, two years in a row, because we skipped the regular 2020 presentation two years ago during our national “pause.” Consequently, the award given Ed last year, in 2021, was for 2020.

This evening [or Today] we have the pleasure of presenting the award for this year, 2022. While Society members and non-members alike are eligible for the Pfeiffer, this year’s award is again given to a Society member. Thus, for at least the last 12 years in a row, our members and directors have reaffirmed our belief that, collectively, our own Zane Grey’s West Society members remain the foremost Zane Grey scholars in the world today! That’s something we can all be proud of, and justifiably so! I know Chuck would be- if he was here today.

We remember Chuck Pfeiffer for his white beard, his ready smile, and for his encyclopedic knowledge of Zane Grey. As a Grey scholar, he was matchless!
But he was more than that! He was a husband, a father, Sunday School teacher, a camper-van builder, an American geographer, a photographer, a beloved professor, a writer and researcher, in library and field, a share-er of information, and a gentle . . . man!

Not many know that it was when he served as a Chaplain aboard the Navy’s USS Ranger aircraft carrier that he first encountered Zane Grey. As Chaplain, he also served as ship’s librarian, and when the Captain asked for a book one evening, Chuck happened to pull a ZG novel from the shelf. Whenever he told the story, he always added that he thought he should check out the book himself before giving it to the C. O., just to make sure it was a good one, and Chuck’s ZG adventure began.

He was a “charter member” of the Society, and from the very first convention in 1983 until his failing health prevented travel, he was here- every year. Six decades and 400,000 road miles later, we who knew him were the lucky ones. We learned quickly that whenever we looked for him during our meetings, all we had to do was find the largest crowd—and he’d be there at the center of it. Questions flew at him from all corners, and amazingly, he answered every one. No one can remember a time or a question about Grey- that Chuck couldn’t answer. Even Joe often deferred to him! He was phenomenal!

The Charles G. Pfeiffer Award is the Society’s most prestigious and important award. Its purpose is to remind us of our friend Chuck- for all he was, but especially for his high standards in research, in writing, and for his willingness to share with anyone and everyone- whatever he knew about Zane Grey . . . and to be an incentive for others to do the same.

The award was created in 2011, to be given biennially- to that person- whether a Society member or not- who exhibits the highest standards of research and writing on any aspect of Grey’s life or work. This year’s awardee is preceded by
 Kevin Blake, 2012;
 Zen Ervin, 2014;
 Victor Carl Friesen, 2016;
 Alan Pratt, 2018; and
 Ed Meyer, 2020.

This year’s awardee . . .
• has “lived with” Zane Grey for almost his entire life. He is . . .
• a researcher, both in field and library;
• an author of numerous articles for the Review and Explorer and other publications,
• a biographer, and
• a proven expert on Grey geography, especially Arizona and Utah trails, where he has led us on many field trips.
• He brings a unique and intriguing perspective on Grey’s work; he
• is a collector of important artifacts paralleling and supporting Grey’s stories; he is
• a document analyst and interpreter of historic written materials, and
• like Chuck, he graciously shares what he has discovered about Grey with all of us.

He is our friend and fellow adventurer, the great grand-son of Asthon Sosi and Hosteen John [Wetherill], perhaps the most important people in Grey’s research on First Americans. He becomes only the sixth Pfeiffer recipient:
Harvey Leake.
So, step forward, please, Harvey. Now, at the recommendation of the Pfeiffer Award committee, and on behalf of all our members and Directors, I am pleased to present to you the 2022

Charles G. Pfeiffer Award

Congratulations, Harvey.

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Historical images of Zane Grey used with permission of Dr. Loren Grey
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Historical photos of Zane Grey used with permission of Dr. Loren Grey