In Memory of Traudi Plesch OBE 1922 – 2013A guest post by John A Pedder MBE
“Whatever is done for love always occurs beyond good and evil”
As the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche put it, anything done in love, supersedes evil. Both Traudi and Peter came from a background of evil but proved that from evil, good can triumph. Peter was born in Germany and Traudi in Austria. Peter was one of the last surviving members of the European Diaspora of intellectuals forced to escape Nazism in the 1930s and 1940s. In the 1930s the family fled to England.
Peter went to Harrow School and Cambridge and then in 1951, he was appointed to the University of North Staffordshire, now Keele University, as one of the first non-professorial staff, teaching physical chemistry. His death marks the end of an era at Keele as he was the last surviving member of staff from the 1950s. Peter Plesch was hugely enthusiastic, not only about science and chemistry but about life. His enthusiasm was infectious. He was aware of his own good fortune when his family escaped the fate of so many of their compatriots and this had shaped his attitude and generosity of spirit.
In his words
“I live my life to the full for all those whose lives were taken. My duty to them forbids anything less.”
This dedication and enthusiasm was also to be seen in the life of his second wife Traudi. She had fled her native Austria to escape the Nazi domination and ensuing holocaust. Living with Peter in the Westlands, she too was to put her stamp on this area. Her love of life and of the people of Newcastle and North Staffordshire manifested itself in prolific fund raising for her many chosen good causes. She was the inspiration that resulted in the raising of huge sums of money. These included £300,000 towards the building of the Douglas Macmillan Hospice in Blurton and another £660,000 to establish a day centre to mark the Hospice’s Silver Jubilee year. She was to go on to lead the £750,000 appeal to build the Child Development Centre at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire. In 2000 Traudi was awarded the OBE in recognition of her charity work in North Staffordshire.
Some words from Karen McKenzie, Hospice Director of Income Generation
“We are indebted to this amazing lady for her significant help over many years. Traudi was a huge personality and a fabulous ambassador for us.”
Her relatives have set up a justgiving page to raise funds in her memory, towards international cancer research. The link is here www.justgiving.com/remember/Traudi-PleschOBE
Founder of the Castle Comfort Mobility Products Group, Keith Simpson wishes to thank John Pedder MBE for this accurate and fitting tribute to Mr & Mrs Plesch.
Keith states' "Peter and Traudi as our clients for many years, became friends.
Their needs in later years for our services, whether a rubber stopper for a walking stick or a specialised stairlift system, were fulfilled by our staff who were privileged to ensure their exacting standards were met.
A particular feature with the Plesches was that our efforts would always be acknowledged, and indeed very quickly by telephone and in writing. If ever they felt a tiny improvement, over any aspect of our products and services - could be made... . it would be politely suggested, and for this we were grateful.
It has been a pleasure to be of assistance over many years .. and as with any of our clients, their passing away brings great sadness .. but always fond memories."