Lifecycles | Obituaries

Obituary: Former Federation director Charles Plotkin dies

Charles Plotkin, 87, former executive director of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, died July 27, 2019.

Mr. Plotkin was born in the Bronx, New York, to Ethel and Abraham “Arthur” Plotkin. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, earned a Bachelor of Arts from the City College of New York, and a Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. He moved to Tucson in 1978 to assume the Federation executive director position. During his tenure, he oversaw the establishment of the Tucson Jewish Community Center on River Road, prior to retiring in 1990.

“I remember the day I interviewed for a job with Charlie,” says Sandy Grossman, a former JFSA Women’s Division director. “I was struck by his warmth, good humor and most importantly, his dedication to and his vision for the Jewish community of Southern Arizona. Where others saw desert, Charlie imagined a thriving Jewish community. It was his vision and determination that helped build the Jewish Community Center campus because at that time, it was still just a dream.”

Sandra Heiman, former editor of the Arizona Jewish Post, recalls Mr. Plotkin as “a supportive and positive colleague. As a new editor of the Arizona Jewish Post I was fortunate to have his backing, his suggestions, and his willingness to give me the independence to expand the paper. He came to Tucson as the Jewish community was growing and with unfailing optimism, he shepherded it on its journey forward.”

Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Dorothy “Dotti” Plotkin; children, Gail (Charles) Bretan of Greensboro, North Carolina, Jeffrey (Nancy) of Westport, Connecticut, and Andrea (Franklin) Wong of Pittsburgh; sister, Ida Plotkin of Tucson; and six grandchildren.
Mr. Plotkin donated his body to the University of Arizona Medical School for educational purposes.

A private memorial for family and friends was held.