Today was a tough day, ending an extremely tough couple of weeks. Stan Plesser, the Senior Plesser I’ve been writing about, passed away. I ran a shot from this same series back in June when the family took a trip together to Los Angeles. Anything I would have shot fresh would have seemed so irrelevant with today’s happenings, and I really needed to see his smiling face again anyway.
Stan was a pretty short guy, but he had the enthusiasm of a giant. He grew up in New York City and had the most amazing stories of his childhood there. He loved telling stories of growing up in the Jewish neighborhoods and of smelling the fresh roasted nuts wafting up to his open bedroom window from the street as well as the fresh fish he could buy from off the truck (“I have never again tasted fish that fresh!”).
He was a dreamer who was continuously thinking of new and creative business ideas and solutions — including lots of ideas for me on how to save newspapers, which he could never fathom not reading. Stan read every paper he could, watched as much TV political news as anyone (especially me) could stomach, visited all kinds of museums, traveled the world over and loved to listen to public radio. In short, he loved to learn.
He was also an old-school music industry guy who had once managed rock bands, and reliving those stories with him on tour was a treasure for both Jamie and I, the obvious rock fanatics. He opened a club in Kansas City in the 1960s and promoted shows there for many years (resulting in a documentary being made on him and his impact on the local music scene — which he was extremely proud of). He never gave up on new music, and I loved it that at 79 years old he was interested in Wilco and Delta Spirit. Along with the new artists, he loved to tell you about seeing Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley live. Man, he loved music — just like I do.
Beyond rock’n’roll, Stan also loved the Kansas Jayhawks with a vigor only matched by his sons. I fear we may miss him most on game days this year, when as the game comes to a close, there is no phone call to dissect every players’ magnificence and every referees’ blind call.
Stan was an amazing man who will be missed deeply. I’ll be back in Kansas City for the week as we remember his passions and say our goodbyes.