Wednesday, December 08, 2004


from Michele Cohen, a kind woman who was with Ron at the end....

My friend and I did not know Ron Plesser professionally or personally. We had the pleasure of spending the last hour and a half of his life with him at Dulles Airport. We spent the first hour winding up and down the terminal to go through security. He was a very friendly man with a good sense of humor.

I noticed immediately that my friend who usually gets annoyed with my habit of conversing with strangers was very friendly herself. She had left me at curb side check-in to get a head start on the long security line. Her last words to me were "don't be so chatty we're in a hurry!" By the time we had been in line with Ron for about 30 minutes she was the chatty one! This is no longer surprising after reading these blogs. There was something special about this man.

Ron told us how he was on his way to Paris. We asked if it was a business trip. He said that although he had recently opened a law office in Paris, he was really looking forward to this trip and spending time with friends. Ron told us how much he loved his job that he was a very lucky man. He mentioned he was also looking forward to going to Paris because he had "all the time in the world to enjoy himself". We all went through security and said our goodbyes.

Five minutes later we got onto one of the trams to go to the gates and we said to Ron, "Oh look it's our friend, may we sit will you?" On the way over we made jokes about how long the security line was and that we would all sleep well on the plane if we ever got off of the never-ending bad Disney ride!

Ron's cell phone rang, I know now after speaking with Barbara that he was on the phone with Stu. I was sitting right next to Ron and could not help but over hear his conversation. I remember being impressed. He was obviously advising a junior (at least to him:)) lawyer on how to handle a particular case. He was pretty direct, but there was something in his tone, he was proud of his protege. I thought to myself how lucky this lawyer is to work with Ron.

As he hung up we were closely approaching the gates. He put his head back and closed his eyes. That was the last time we spoke with Ron.

Everyone was moving past us to get off the tram. As my friend and I stood up to leave, Ron started snoring rather loudly. At first we thought he was teasing us about sleeping on the plane. After shaking him we knew something was very wrong. My friend immediately started stopping people and calling for a doctor. I stayed with Ron holding his arm and asking him to please stay with us, that we were getting him help. I knew he was already gone but I didn't want to give up.

Another woman administered CPR while we waited for the defibulator to arrive. They said he had a pulse with the defibulator, but again, I knew he was gone. He lay there peacefully. My friend and I stayed with him until the paramedics put him on the stretcher to take him away.

I am a 38 year old stay at home mother of three, with an MBA, who desperately misses the excitement of a career. The moment we left our new friend Ron, I felt differently. I thought to myself what is really important in my life? Today, although I am hoping to go back to work someday, this will not define me as a person. I want to make the world a better place. We do that not so much by great accomplishments, but by the little things we do each day.

I also was very sad at the thought that I would not be able to find Ron's wife. I wanted her to know that he died peacefully and that people were caring for him in his last moments. In addition, I wanted her to know that he continued to touch people in big ways even through his death.

Thankfully I found Barbara.

Michelle Cohen
Bethesda, Maryland

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