Family and friends remember life of supervisor

Rita Plank, bottom left, gets a hug from stepdaughter Briana DiIorio at a memorial for her husband Jon Plank Friday morning at the First Presbyterian Church.  photo by Rick Gunn

Rita Plank, bottom left, gets a hug from stepdaughter Briana DiIorio at a memorial for her husband Jon Plank Friday morning at the First Presbyterian Church. photo by Rick Gunn

A true gentleman. A husband, father and grandfather -- "Opa" to 18 grandchildren. A man who served selflessly.

Just about anyone who met Jon Plank during the many years he served the state, and served the residents of Carson City, remembers his warm smile or welcome handshake.

Plank's family was joined by hundreds of Carson City residents, employees and officials Friday at the First Presbyterian Church as they celebrated Plank's life.

The Carson supervisor died suddenly Dec. 27 from complications caused by pneumonia.

"Even though we are sad and we need to grieve, in the back of our minds, he will smile," said stepdaughter Cheryl Dahlinger during Friday's service.

"Jon cared so much for this community and he wanted only what was best for everybody. We as a family would like to see his plans for the city" be carried on.

"God may have closed this door but the window is wide open," she said.

The morning service was preceded by a private family burial at Lone Mountain Cemetery. The memorial service was meant as a time to celebrate Plank's 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.

He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church and the Carson Sertoma Club, an organization that helps children who have hearing and speech disabilities.

As a father, Plank spent many hours coaching his stepdaughter in softball and attended many sports events and games. It was then that Plank saw he wanted to make life better in Carson City for everyone, Dahlinger said.

Jon and Rita Plank's granddaughter, whom they raised from the age of 7, also said a few words Friday.

"He will be missed a whole lot by me, my family and his friends," said Sarah Wilkie, 23. He was remembered by his family as a man who taught them to be self-sufficient, a true gentleman and honorable, respectful man.

The singing of "Wind Beneath My Wings" by his granddaughter Christine Dahlinger and Rachel Silver brought out many tissues and tears.

Mayor Ray Masayko read a quote by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the qualities of a great man, qualities that he felt Plank displayed during his service to the community.

"His passing leaves a void in this community that will be difficult to fill, if it ever will be filled," Masayko said. Several city staff members attended the ceremony.

He was in the middle of his second term in office. Plank served on several boards and commissions during his time with the city. He was appointed to the Carson City Senior Citizens Advisory Council, Parks and Recreation Commission, was chairman of the Regional Transportation Commission and represented the city on the Tahoe Regional Planning Commission.

Plank spent 32 years working for the Nevada Employment Security Department. He sat on Gov. Mike O'Callahan's Planning Council for Manpower Revenue Sharing and the Governor's Task Force for Alternative Uses for the Nevada Test Site.

The Rev. Bruce Kochsmeier stressed Plank's passion for serving the community. Plank was an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church. "He lost himself in serving," Kochsmeier said. "To remember Jon ... go out and serve some.

"This is the tribute he would have wanted."


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