Juliane Pfeffer's decade-long battle with breast cancer ended quietly at home in Rogers in the early hours of Monday, Jan. 6, 2014. She was 54.
The California girl made a career in Northwest Arkansas as a chef and caterer and co-founder of Pfeffer's Gourmet Catering. But she was also a wife, daughter and extraordinary mother of five girls ages 12 to 27. Friends and family agree - her girls were her life.
The former Juliane Quinlan was born on July 10, 1959, in Bellflower, Calif., the eldest and only daughter of Bob and Dona Quinlan's three children. Dona Quinlan did most the child-rearing while husband Bob traveled for work.
"She was the toughest kid on the street," Bob Quinlan said of Juliane. She was always taking up for her two younger brothers, Michael and Gregory Quinlan, battling the pair's adversaries, even making them cry. To say she was strong-willed was an understatement, the dad said.
It was her father who had introduced her to fine dining and cooking. She had developed a taste for lobster by the time she was 10, and on her 16th birthday he took her to eat at the Ruben E. Lee restaurant in Newport Beach, Calif.
His job moved the family to London during Juliane's last year of high school. None of the Quinlan children wanted to move, least of all Juliane. They had never even been on an airplane.
"We were so homesick," recalled Gregory Quinlan. "We were miserable, but it turned out to be a fabulous time in all our lives."
The siblings had only each other for entertainment and became quite close, an aspect of Juliane's life that would last the rest of her life.
After graduating from London Central High School, she briefly attended the London School of modeling before returning to California and entering the food service industry as a waitress, then bartender. It was during this time she met her future husband, Dwight Pfeffer.
They met at a restaurant in Garden Grove, Calif., called Delaney's, for which their youngest is named (Papa Bob, Julaine's father, calls the toddler his little "bar baby"). Juliane was tending bar at the restaurant and Dwight was a regular.
The pair moved together to Arkansas, and at that time, Dwight's daughters, Shelby and Jordan, became the center of Juliane's attention. Family and friends agree that she treated them as her own.
With Dwight's help and some financial backing from her mom and dad, Juliane bought Kaye's Catering in 1996 and the couple married shortly thereafter. They turned one woman's "thriving hobby" into one of the area's top catering companies. She was best-known for her grilled beef tenderloin, hot chicken dip appetizer and one-of-a-kind Georgia treats. Together, she and Dwight catered hundreds of events for crowds from 12 to 1,200. They married in 1998.
In business, life - and particularly in sickness - Dwight was Juliane's cheerleader, backing her play and giving her confidence when the challenges of running a business seemed insurmountable. Juliane was quick to give Dwight credit for helping build their clientele. He's as good with a marketing plan as she was with a food processor.
Some of her more popular products were sold in Sam's Club, and she was honored with a cover story in Sam's Club's Source magazine for business members. She was also featured in Southern Living magazine's 2004 Home for the Holidays issue. Always proud and supportive, her parents threw her a party to celebrate this monumental milestone.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, endured surgery and chemotherapy, then enjoyed seven glorious years of remission. "We had it beat," said her brother Gregory.
However, the cancer came back in the spring of 2011 and remained an ongoing battle the rest of her days.
She is survived by her husband and business partner, Dwight Pfeffer; daughters Shelby Pfeffer of Fayetteville, Jordan Pfeffer of Rogers, Taylor Pfeffer and Delaney Pfeffer of the home and Reyan Hernandez of Oakdale, La., a daughter she adopted as an infant from a previous relationship; her parents Bob and Dona Quinlan of Rogers; brother Michael Quinlan, his wife Emily and nieces Serena and twins Suzette and Natalie, all of Laguna Niguel, Calif.; brother Gregory Quinlan, his partner Vickey and nieces Paige and Tara Quinlan, all also of Rogers; and an aunt, Carolyn Harrellson of Mission Viejo, Calif.
Services will be 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, 2013, at Central United Methodist Church on New Hope Road in Rogers. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations go to Hope Cancer Resources, 5835 W. Sunset Blvd., Springdale, Ark., 72762. The money will be used specifically for prescription drugs for cancer patients who cannot afford them.
Cremation arrangements are by Rollins Funeral Home in Rogers. www.rollinsfuneral.com.