Carson City Supervisor Jon Plank died suddenly Friday afternoon of complications caused by pneumonia, friends and associates reported.
Family and friends mourned the loss of the longtime civil servant and dedicated public official. Many were stunned by the news. Plank was 65.
"I've never met a finer man," said Pete Livermore, Carson supervisor and friend. "He was a great, compassionate man. He was just an individual who enjoyed life."
Plank was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1996 and was re-elected in 2000. A Carson City resident since 1975, Plank and his wife, Rita, had six grown children and 18 grandchildren, all but three residing in Nevada.
Members of his family were gathering Friday, spending time together to take in what had happened before making comments, they said.
"My heart-felt sympathies go out to Rita and to the other members of his family -- his children and grandchildren," Carson City Mayor Ray Masayko said. "When I first heard the news I was shocked and saddened almost beyond belief. It was hard to believe. We came on the board at the same time. I was proud to be his friend and his colleague.
"I think he loved Carson City, its people, and the job he was elected to and it showed. We will miss him terribly."
During his latest term as supervisor, Plank served on many boards and commissions. He was appointed to the Carson City Senior Citizens Advisory Council, Parks and Recreation Commission and was chairman of the Regional Transportation Commission.
Plank was also dedicated to serving as Carson City's representative to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, spending several hours every month fulfilling his duties on the agency's governing board. He especially liked his time with the TRPA, said longtime friend Bob Kennedy.
Livermore said he and Plank spent many meeting days having lunch together at Thurman's Ranch House. It was their time to laugh and share each other's company, he said. Last week, it was Plank's turn to pay the lunch tab.
"He was just a wonderful individual," he said.
Livermore said Plank loved serving on the Parks and Recreation Commission. Plank coached softball when his children were younger and he liked being able to help provide people with facilities where families would enjoy themselves.
"That was Jon," Livermore said. "Jon gave willingly of himself."
As a candidate, Plank described himself during the 2000 campaign as a quiet man who speaks "only when I have something to say." Livermore described him as a "gentleman."
He enjoyed joking with his friends and was "a good buddy who shared lots of enjoyable stories over the years," Kennedy said.
Plank retired as a state administrator after 32 years with the Nevada Employment Security Department. He served as a member of Governor Mike O'Callaghan's Planning Council for Manpower Revenue Sharing; the Governor's Task Force for Alternative Uses for the Nevada Test Site; and, as past president of the State of Nevada Employees Association.
Plank has served as past president and chairman of the board and current vice president of the Carson Sertoma Club and was a trustee for the Ron Wood Family Resource Center and the Northern Nevada Railway Foundation.
Plank grew up in the forests of rural California where his father was a forest ranger and his mother was a teacher. He was the oldest of three boys and became interested in animals as a child, he said in past interviews. He was a Republican and graduated in 1960 from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a degree in animal husbandry.