James Pletz, Class of 1953

Posted Jun 22, 2020

Pletz James Obit Pic

James Pletz ’53 died June 1, 2020. Born March 10, 1928 in Penbrook, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to the late Irvin and Ruth Alleman Pletz. He attended the public schools in Penbrook, Harrisburg until March, 1945 when he enlisted in the U S Navy. He served four years attaining the rank of Hospitalman 2nd Class. He began his college education at Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, transferring in his sophomore year to Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry in 1953.

He began his professional career as an Analytical Chemist with DuPont working at the Savannah River Plant and then the Chambers Works plant. In April 1959, he joined Thiokol Chemical Corporation in Elkton, Maryland, where he was involved with many significant scientific space propulsion programs. For his work on the Delta program, he was awarded NASA’s Meritorious Public Service Award. He progressed through various levels of Management retiring with 31 years of service in April 1990 as Director of Manufacturing. He appreciated the many long lasting friendships that he developed amongst his colleagues at Thiokol.

He was a lifetime active member (53 years) of the Brandywine Hundred Fire Company joining on March 1, 1967 and serving as president in 1973. He also served two years on the Board of Directors, was a Fire Policeman and was the Fund Drive Chairman.

James was preceded in death by his wife Shirley Polleck, son David and daughter Susan. He is survived by children Phyllis, James (Ellen), Dean, Margaret (David); grandchildren Brian (Adrianne), Amy (Justin), Sarah (Nathan), Christie, Jacob, and Sam, and great-grandchildren Kayleigh, Alex, and Savannah.