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Official Obituary of

Richard Douglas Plotz

August 15, 1948 ~ March 2, 2024 (age 75) 75 Years Old

Richard Plotz Obituary


Dr. Richard Plotz, of Providence RI, died of cancer on Saturday, March 2, at the age of 75. Dick was born on August 15, 1948 in Brooklyn, NY, the eldest son of Dr. Charles M. Plotz and Lucille Plotz (née Weckstein).

Dick graduated from Harvard College in 1971, earned his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1977, and later earned a Master of Public Health from Boston University. He worked as a cytopathologist until his retirement in 2018, focusing his microscope on cancer screening and early detection of cervical cancer.

While a student at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, Dick became active in the Tolkien fan community of the 1960s. He organized the Tolkien Society of America, holding meetings of Tolkien's fans from around the country, and publishing the Tolkien Journal, which included scholarly and other articles and artwork celebrating Tolkien's work. The New Yorker reported on one such meeting, at which Tolkien's friend W. H. Auden spoke. Dick met his wife Judy (née Anker) when she traveled to Brooklyn from Albany to attend a Tolkien Society meeting; they were married in March 1971. He corresponded with Tolkien and visited him at his home in Oxford twice, including once during his first year of college when he was sent to England by Seventeen magazine to interview Tolkien for their January 1967 issue.

When Dick graduated from medical school, he had several choices of where to go for his residency. At a celebratory dinner at a Chinese restaurant, his fortune cookie said, "Providence will be good to you," so he and Judy moved to Providence.

Dick's interests in puzzles, history, geography, language, and interconnectedness converged in his magnum opus: family trees of both his and Judy's families, which he researched and compiled over more than half a century. Spanning a dozen generations, it is the result of thousands of letters, phone calls, and emails, hundreds of visits to libraries and cemeteries, and he was still adding new information to the tree well into his final illness.

In addition to his wife, Dick is survived by his daughter Martha Ingols (husband Kyle, child Aloe); his son Mike Sage (wife Vrie); and his brothers Tom (wife Cathy Klion, children David and Joanna) and Bob (wife Sue, children Ben, John, and Mike).

Funeral services will be private. Information about a memorial gathering may be shared at a later date.

Those who feel moved to do so may make a donation in Dick's memory at one or more of the following organizations:
JewishGen (
The Nature Conservancy (
American Cancer Society (





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