Crash death endangers Maui dream
WAILUKU » Charles A. Pfirrman and his wife, Kim, who is a paraplegic, took two years to build their dream home in Haiku and had just recently moved in.
With the death of chief breadwinner Charles Pfirrman on Wednesday, that dream is in danger of vanishing because the couple was ready to get permanent financing.
Pfirrman, 48, died of injuries suffered when a pickup truck turned into the path of his motorcycle.
A preliminary police investigation found that the pickup truck driver did not have the right of way when he turned left off Pulehu Road outside the county landfill at 3:40 p.m. Wednesday.
No charges have been filed against the driver, pending further investigation, including the results of toxicology tests for alcohol and drugs.
Pfirrman's older sister, Pam Turnage, said his death has devastated the family.
"I feel like I've lost my heart," said Turnage, who flew from Arizona to be with Kim Pfirrman.
Pfirrman said she and her husband were high school sweethearts and had been together throughout their adult lives.
"We loved each other. We planned on growing old with each other," she said. "He's my best friend. It's so hard to believe this has happened."
She said ownership of the home is in limbo because it still needs permanent financing.
"I'm worried about losing the home he worked so hard to build that's adapted for me to live in," Kim said.
Turnage said the Pfirrmans lived in a hut for two years while building their dream house.
Charles Pfirrman worked as an electrician on Maui while also building the house.
Pfirrman's relatives say the couple visited Maui in 1999 and came back determined to move to the Valley Isle.
"He said, 'I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I'm going to Maui,'" Turnage recalled. "He loved the ocean. He loved Maui."
Neighbors remembered Pfirrman as someone who worked hard and enjoyed playing Frisbee with his four border collies in his front yard in the afternoons. Before moving to Maui, he was an electrical contractor involved in commercial building projects in Arizona.
Cheri Murray, another sister of Pfirrman's, said he has been taking care of his wife since she became paralyzed in a fall six years ago and that both continued to pursue their dream of building a home on Maui. "All alone in paradise, they both worked so hard to finish," Murray said.
Turnage said she hopes people remember her brother for the way he sought to fulfill his home-building dream.
"This is a story about determination and what you can do," Murray said.