Peter C. Schaefer Jr., 79, of Levittown, a retired tugboat captain and river pilot, died of cancer Sunday at Frankford Hospital in Philadelphia.
Mr. Schaefer, whose father was a railroad worker, began his career in the 1940s as a mate on tugboats towing railroad-car barges across the Delaware. In 1982, he was the river pilot who navigated the Queen Elizabeth 2 into port when the ocean liner visited Philadelphia for the city's tricentennial celebration. He was a member of the Seafarers International Union.
After retiring in 1991, he continued to be on call for tugboat duty for several years, his son Peter "Perry" said. He often socialized with other retired watermen aboard the historic iron tugboat Jupiter at Penn's Landing and occasionally captained the Jupiter when it was used for special events. The 1902 tugboat is owned by the Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild.
Mr. Schaefer graduated from Northeast High School and served in the Navy at the end of World War II.
In 1948, he married Catherine Cannon. They had grown up in Port Richmond. In 1956, the couple were among the original home buyers in Levittown.
In addition to his son and wife, Mr. Schaefer is survived by a daughter, Patricia Saxman; sons Paul and Donald; a sister; 11 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.