SPHS Archives: Mr. Green Devil


Sally Pfeiffer

Bob Pfeiffer was beloved throughout the St. Petersburg community. He could be spotted in public easily, whether it was for his unique “GDEVIL” license plate or his distinctive (and often green) beard.

“So, it was my sophomore year, and I was a Majorette,” she said. “We were cleaning out the Majorette room, and we found this beanie, a green beanie with horns on it. So as a joke, I threw it on his head, and that summer, he’d grown a beard. He ran up and down with that, and everybody thought it was so funny. Then, the next week, he put green food coloring in his beard, and that’s how it started,” according to Sally Pfeiffer. “A little tiny beanie and a green beard.”

Robert Pfeiffer, also known as “Mr. Green Devil,” was a prominent member of the St. Petersburg High School community. However, the 1933 alumnus didn’t have much involvement as a student. During his childhood, Bob Pfeiffer was a paperboy alongside his older brothers for the Evening Independent, St. Petersburg’s first daily newspaper. After he graduated, he was in the National Guard during World War II. He worked on the troop transport ship and sold items to the soldiers. His daughter claims that “he was a good salesperson” and “could make anyone buy anything.” He was a mailman for the majority of his life. 

Sally Pfeiffer is a 1972 St. Petersburg High School alumnus. During her high school experience, she was very dedicated to the band, as well as being an Exchangette and a Majorette. This was where her father’s involvement began. Because of her commitment to the band, Bob Pfeiffer joined the Band Boosters to help raise money. “He’s the kind of guy that if there was a need– there was some project, something needed to be done– he was your guy to get people motivated to do it,” she stated. He started by selling concessions at football games, but his involvement grew after his youngest daughter Helen graduated. 

Because of his dedication to St. Pete High, he was appointed as the Director of Alumni Affairs. When alumni would host big class reunions, Pfeiffer would attend and “just take off his big old hat and say ‘St. Pete High needs your help and money.’” He was known to spearhead campaigns like this. Sally Pfieffer says that “he always loved St. Pete High, and he always loved St. Petersburg.” He helped pitch the idea of the newsboy statue that can be found at the beginning of the St. Petersburg Pier.

Robert Pfeiffer believed that the history of our school was something that everybody should have access to. Because of this devotion, he proposed the idea of converting the school library into a student-accessible Archives Room. After receiving approval from the principal at the time, he collected donations and contributed his own money to renovate the room. A large amount of the money used to build the Archives Room came from an anonymous donation of $10,000 and from selling the plaques on the seats in the auditorium to alumni. He also used these donations to improve the lockers and grant new trophy cases for the gym. 

Another one of his most prominent projects was the class ring collection that he organized. Pfeiffer got rings from every class by asking alumni in the area to donate to his collection. He tried to find rings from people with recognizable names in relation to St. Pete High. Originally, the ring collection was kept in the public library until it was stolen, and he transferred the new ring collection to the Archives Room at the school. 

Bob Pfeiffer was beloved throughout the St. Petersburg community. He could be spotted in public easily, whether it was for his unique “GDEVIL” license plate or his distinctive (and often green) beard. Mr. Pfeiffer remained present at St. Pete High throughout the school years of grandsons Nate and Nick. 

Pfeiffer passed away at the age of 86 in 2000. His legacy continues to impact the school through his family. They love to visit the school, and you can find the Pfeiffer name amongst the bricks in the main courtyard. As students, we have Robert Pfeiffer to thank for our access to the St. Petersburg High School history. His contribution to St. Petersburg High School is immense, and you can learn more about him and his impact by visiting the Archives Room.