Thursday, April 26, 2007


from Ron's daughter, Michelle

Hi my name is Michelle,
I am Ronald Plessers daughter. And i just wanted to let everyone know how much of a great guy my dad Ron was...
Well as meny of you may or may not know, my dad and my mom Barbara adopted me at 13 months old. And i would have to say i am one of the most lucky people in the intire world, because my dad was the best father, and friend. He and i had that father daughter relationship, every friday we would go out to dinner and a movie...
My dad was the most magnificent man in the whole intire world. He was and is still my HERO.
At first after my father had past, i was very angery sad, and mixed with all different feelings. But the thing that hurt me the most about his passing, was that i was so far away in Idiho, and he was all the way in DC. And the fact that i didn't get to say goodbye, the way i had wished.
But now i look back at all that me and my dad did together, and i see how lucky i was to have a dad like Ron.
And all though i miss him and wish he was here with me, i can't be angry any more because now i know he is in a better place, where he isn't feeling any pain.
And that he is looking down on me an watching me.
This is for you dad,
There isn't a day that goes by where i don't think about you, and think about all the good times we shared, and even though your not here with me i know you still watch me and love me, but its just so hard some times.
I love my dad so much, and i feel bad that it took me so long to write this, but i guess you could say i just wasn't ready.
There was a song on the Oh Brother Where Arte Thaugh CD, that we used to listen to, that goes "You are my sunshine my only sunshine you make me happy when skies are gray"
well thats just how he made me feel and when i think about him its still how he makes me feel.
Ok well thats enough typing for now,
P.S. Dad i love you

Saturday, April 30, 2005


My Own Tribute to Ron....and how to post your own

You are welcome to share anything you would like about Ron here at the blog. E-mail it to me and I will republish it as a separate post once a day. If you, for some reason, would prefer not to be identified, just let me know and I will protect your anonymity and post it without identifying you. Just e-mail me at


My own tribute to Ron written on November 19, 2004:

I just received word that Ron died of a heart attack yesterday. He was one of the leading privacy lawyers and experts in the world, and a friend.

I didn't see him often. I would run into him at conferences, in airports and whenever I had time on a trip to DC. He was always generous with him time and expertise. He was one of the first people I asked to the advisory board for Wired Kids, the non-profit I run that protects kids online. And even hosted a television shoot with 15 of my Teenangels in his office.

It was unusual that I saw him twice in one month. But I saw him at a dinner in NJ for a privacy advocate and one of Ron's mentors in late October, and again last week at a going away party for a mutual friend in DC. Last week Ron wouldn't hug me, afraid of giving me his cold/flu. I had to settle for a squeeze of his hand.

The discussion started out as we usually did. Who was losing or gaining weight, health and work. Then for some reason, I asked him how he was doing personally. We stood in a crowded room and talked. He shared some of his family issues, and told me that he was looking forward to enjoying a house he and his wife had just purchased on the Cape. He said after many years of family obligations, they were finally seeing the light at the end ofthe tunnel and he couldn't wait to spend time there. We talked about the old Cape Codders and how I would have to buy him a subscription to Yankee. We talked about my old salt grandfather and life on the Cape after Thanksgiving. He told me about how he dreamed that he and his wife could sit back and relax, and enjoy this little house.

He complained a bit about real estate prices, wishing he had purchased a house years before. When we both laughed, wondering how he could ever had hoped he would be able to spend any time at a second home, knowing how committed he was to work and his clients.

This time he surprised me. When I said he'd have to work even harder to carry two mortgages, he sighed and said that if he had to, someday he would just sell the DC-area house and he and his wife would live in Cape Cod happily. He said he was tired and looked forward to enjoying these years and spending more time with his wife and building a more restful life. He saw himself living his days out near the surf, in a quaint and charming world.

I was touched that he had shared so much with me. And a bit surprised. I flew home thinking about how I needed to think about what's next one of these days. I envied him his spouse and his carefully planned future.

Then, a week after he told me he was looking forward to slowing down and smelling the roses (or at least the salty air), he had a fatal heart attack at an airport, running off to a meeting.

I cried when I received an e-mail telling me of his passing. I am crying still. I called his office to find out the details of any memorial service (3100 Military Roda, DC, at Temple Sinai, November 21st at 2pm EST) and broke down on the phone. The secretary I spoke with offered to e-mail me the details.

I admired Ron. I was always happy to see him. I cared for him. But I have cried more for him than for others I knew better, and for longer periods of time. I think I am crying for the promise lost. For the time he gave to business instead of himself. For the years he spent providing for his family's needs, instead of being selfish. For the dream he had and the life his widow must now face without him. I cried for the decisions I will have to make without his firm and reliable guidance, and his laughter and his keen wit. For the loss of all he knows and his unique way of problem solving. For the loss to the practical approach to privacy and public policy.

I will miss this kind, gentle giant.

I have created this blog in tribute to Ron as a place where all who loved him, admired him and miss him can come together to pay him tribute and celebrate his life.


Thursday, February 10, 2005


from Tim Davies

From reading the many obituaries all the wonderful things about Ron, his character, his humor, his wisdom and more have been eloquently stated.

For me he was a very special person whom it was a privilege to have met, worked with as a client and a friend of his and his family. I always enjoyed his company and advice and appreciated the time he made available however inconvenient it might have been - it often was! What I admired and will remember was his brilliance, mastery of his subject, integrity, compassion and understanding of others; a combination of talent which is sadly so rare.

My thoughts and deepest condolences go to his family, his colleagues at work and the many friends he made during his life. His qualities of leadership and warmth as an individual will be greatly missed.


Tim Davies

Monday, January 24, 2005


from Alan Morrison

January 18, 2005

Ronald L. Plesser was a very good man and a very fine lawyer. Ron was the first lawyer who came to work with me at the Public Citizen Litigation Group in April 1972. His job was to put the Freedom of Information Act – known to all who use it and love it, as well as their adversaries, as FOIA – on the map. Passed in 1966, it was little used by anyone except a few businesses when Ron took on the assignment. Immediately, Ron began taking unanswered FOIA requests from other parts of Public Citizen, as well as from other public interest groups and journalists, and taking federal agencies to court for not turning over the documents. The defendants were from a wide range of federal agencies, from the FBI, to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, to the Civil Service Commission, to the Department of Transportation; Ron sued them all. One day when he was with Ralph Nader on a congressional panel on FOIA, Ralph was asked which agency was the worst. His answer was one that Ron would have given also: “Knock on any door.” And knock Ron did, but mostly on courthouse doors.

Ron understood from the start the importance of holding the collective feet of agencies to the FOIA fire. He understood that agencies were not evil, but mainly did not like FOIA, saw that no good (to them) ever came from it, and would much prefer to keep their own secrets. He just determined not to let them get away with it. He won lots of cases, but not all of them. He also saw the need to make changes in the law, and he and Ralph and the folks at Congress Watch were very instrumental in bringing about the 1974 amendments to FOIA and overriding a veto of President Gerald Ford so that they became law. One of the changes of which Ron was mostly justly proud was a provision that allowed victorious plaintiffs to get attorneys fees from recalcitrant agencies in FOIA cases. Litigation was his primary tool, but he saw the need for legislation in this area, as well in the many fields in which he worked after leaving our office.

Ron worked with me for only two and half years, but his FOIA legacy lives on. Public Citizen still makes great use of FOIA, and the Litigation Group still brings many lawsuits each year to enforce it. Agencies are still reluctant to disclose their records, although the reasons they once gave are no longer tried, thanks in part to Ron’s efforts. Ron left us to work for the Privacy Commission and then went on to greater glory in the private sector while continuing to serve the broader public interest in a way that should be a model for all lawyers.

A final memory of Ron keeps popping into my mind as I think of him. One day, one of our very bright and playful typists drew a big heart with an arrow through it, with this written inside the heart: “RLP loves FOIA.” It was, of course, completely true, and it was one of the reasons why so many people loved Ron. We will miss him very much, but the world is a better place for his having passed through it.

Alan Morrison

Sunday, December 19, 2004


from Glee Cady

Ron was an immense help to me in my professional life, of that there
can be no doubt. And he wanted to meet my children, urging me to
bring them in to his office when we all were in DC at the same time.
But it was his interest in literature that produced the lasting
bond. He cared that my late husband was a poet and he took the time
to read and discuss Frank's work. He's one of only two people I've
met in the last 10 years who didn't know Frank personally but wanted
to read his work anyway. Amazing, isn't it? that he could find the
time to care about this and about my family and all the time
continue being the professional resource for all of us.

Glee Cady


The Journal for Education, Community and Values: Interface on the Internet

The Journal for Education, Community and Values: Interface on the InternetAn article written about Ron by Glee Cady

Monday, December 13, 2004


from Bartlett Cleland....

I wanted to share a little about Ron that perhaps not many know. I met Ron when I was working on Capitol Hill and we worked together on a couple issues, mainly privacy and intellectual property. He was great at inviting me to several different events so I had the opportunity to chat with him on a number if issues and mostly about topics that had nothing to do with my day to day job. Sooner or later we got around to talking about his family - clearly a favorite topic of his - and more specifically to adoption.

We talked many times about adoption ( I am adopted too) and he reminded me so much of my parents - wanting to know if being adopted made me think of my parents differently - I always assured him the answer was yes - we love our parents in ways no one can understand because they saved us....

Ron's family, particularly his kids, can know every day and every moment, that he loved them deeply enough to make sure he was doing everything "right" and understanding adoption from their point of view.

Bartlett D. Cleland

Associate General Counsel and

VP, Tax and Corporate Governance Policy

Software industry information (

InfoTech and tax (

Information Technology Association of America

Saturday, December 11, 2004


from the Saks family- Ron's cousins

Ronnie, as we called him was our first cousin.

Of course, we were devastated when we heard the news. We knew him as a great family member. He was always there for us. We were a close family.

Obviously, Ron was a modest person. We knew very little about his work, only that he was a lawyer. We loved him alot and we certainly will miss him.

May he RIP.

Linda, Norman & Mark Saks

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