Obituary of Dr. Robert Pletman
Niskayuna – Dr. Robert J.Pletman
Dr. Robert J. “Bob” Pletman , a life-long resident of Schenectady, NY . Son of the late Dr. Abraham and Ella Pletman, passed peacefully at Kingsway Community surrounded by the love of his family on January 6, 2018 after a brief illness.
Bob was born in Schenectady on March 8, 1929 and is predeceased by his sister Felice Levine ( the late Dr. Leon Levine )
Dr. Pletman is survived by his loving wife of sixty years, Doris Brown Pletman, whom he adored greatly and was his true partner and love of his life, sons Edward H. Pletman ( Stoughton, MA) and Michael Pletman (Schenectady, NY), niece Robyn (Scott) Ripps (Decatur, GA), Jodi Brown (Athens, GA), Francea (Tim) McNair (Seattle, WA), cousins Sandra Rosenblum and Sue Sack (Ned).Predeceased Alan Levine (Barbara Levine Spector), and many nieces and nephews that he adored.
Bob and his wife, Doris, were a true example for others of a special loving relationship of the strongest form and each cared for each other throughout the best of times and the challenges. Bob and Doris met at a cousin’s Bar Mitzvah at Congregation Agudat Achim on Nott Terrace in 1956 and were married the next year in Saratoga Springs. They have been members, and constant volunteers, at Congregation Agudat Achim since 1962.
Dr. Pletman excelled at an early age and his achievements were noted even then. A 1943 edition of Oneida Junior High School’s newspaper reported “…he has won recognition as a writer, particulary in the field of sports. He is a popular master of ceremonies for parties and assemblies. He enjoys a good debate and reading is one of his hobbies. “
Four years later, his listing in the senior yearbook at Nott Terrace High School includes honors in math, science and Latin and memberships in clubs including Camera, Chess and World Today.
Bob graduated from Union College in 1950 and the University of Buffalo Medical School in 1954. He served in the US Army and was stationed in Iceland for a year and then spend his last six months of Army service at West Point. After completing his medical residency in Urology, Doris and Bob returned home to Schenectady in 1962 where Bob opened his medical practice. Dr. Pletman was recognized for his leadership, commitment to patient care and the contributions he continually made to the health of his community. Dr. Pletman and his staff were a true family with such respect and care for each other. Dr. Pletman was well-known for always lending a helping hand and advice in a time of need for his staff. He was active in the American Medical Association, and State and County Medical Societies. He was a Fellow of The American College of Surgeons and a Diplomat of The American Board of Urology., He served as an attending Urologist at Ellis Hospital and in 1984 he was the Chief of Urology, Chief of Medical Staff and a member of the Board of Trustees at St. Clare’s Hospital. From 1982-1984 Bob served as President of MVP Healthcare Plan. In 1999, at a St. Clare’s Board meeting, he was asked by Mardy Moore (then Niskayuna Town Supervisor) and member of the St. Clare’s Board), “what are you going to do when you retire?” Dr. Pletman answered that he would like to start a free medical clinic in Schenectady for people without health insurance. The clinic was founded soon afterwards, first at Bethesda House and then on Franklin Street, and ,in 2000, Bob retired from medical practice and in a leadership role of the free health clinic with Mardy Moore, Dr. Arnold Ritterband, Dr. Clifford Tepper, and Ceil Mack, they championed the idea and together, rallied the medical community at large, continuing until it closed in 2014. This clinic had long been a dream of his to serve the community through integrity, dignity, and respect; virtues he and his cherished wife clearly passed to both sons in their professional careers and volunteer work they have chosen.
Dr. Pletman was a loyal alumnus of Union College, enthusiastically attending reunions over the years, trying hard not to miss a football or hockey game- holding season tickets from opening day on for many years. It gave him great pride that sons, Edward (Class of 1982) and Michael (Class of 1985) , both carried on the Union College tradition.
Dr. Pletman’s affection for animals, most notably his dogs and his son’s dogs, is renowned. His encounters with staff at hospitals and the clinic over a cup of coffee were likely to include mention of the love of his dogs or the antics of Michael’s dogs, along with his enjoyment of fishing, exercise, reading especially on the topic of Civil War and other historical events, and the Red Sox. Bob tried never to miss a Red Sox game on television and in the last few years some of his favorite days were spent with family on a special celebration for his birthday or anniversary to travel to the Fenway park to sit in the club house and see his favorite team. Above all, he looked forward to traveling to the Adirondack home he and his wife owned and spending relaxing weekends with great friends who lived nearby, dining out, and enjoying peace with Doris and his dog.
The family wishes to extend their most sincere thank you to the outstanding, compassionate members of the Home Instead Team, the staff at floor C1 at Ellis Hospital, the Kingsway community, and the Glen Eddy Independent Living staff for their kindness and care.
Donations graciously appreciated in Dr. Robert Pletman’s name to Congregation Agudat Achim, Hadassah (Hadassah.org), and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital or a charity of your choice.
Services will be held at Congregation Agudat Achim , 2117 Union St, Niskayuna) at 10:30 Tuesday, January 9th with the family welcoming friends, relatives, and members of the community to a Shiva service at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 9 at Congregation Agudat Achim and Wednesday, January 10th at the Glen Eddy Independent Living Building on Consaul Road.
Bob will be greatly missed by his loving family, as family always came first to him. His contributions to the world around him have certainly left a positive mark on the community and the world.