Donald Plunkett, AES Charter Member and Former Executive Director, Dies, Age 81

Donald J. Plunkett, a Charter Member of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), executive director for 20 years and past president, passed away suddenly in New York on July 15, 2005. Plunkett was 81 years of age. He is survived by his wife, Mary Elizabeth (Liz), his son, Christopher, his daughters Hilary Jones, Libby Mastoloni, and Emily Fleischer, and four grandchildren.
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Donald Plunkett, AES Charter Member and Former Executive Director, Dies, Age 81

Jul 19, 2005 2:38 PM

Donald J. Plunkett, a Charter Member of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), executive director for 20 years and past president, passed away suddenly in New York on July 15, 2005. Plunkett was 81 years of age. He is survived by his wife, Mary Elizabeth (Liz), his son, Christopher, his daughters Hilary Jones, Libby Mastoloni, and Emily Fleischer, and four grandchildren.

As a young man, Plunkett came across a Columbia Graphaphone Cylinder Recording Reproducing machine in his grandparent’s attic, and thus began a life-long love affair with recording. His career highlights include working at NBC, Capitol Records, Fairchild Recording Equipment, and with other professional audio pioneers such as Emory Cook, in both equipment manufacture and operation. He was involved in the fledgling independent record market in the days when it was regarded as a niche market and the 78rpm lacquer disk was state-of-the-art.

In January 1948, Plunkett met Norman Pickering and Ted Lindenberg, who were part of the organizing committee for the AES. He became a member of the committee and was involved in the formation of the society in February 1948. He attended the first formal meeting of the AES in March 1948. From that point the society moved ahead rapidly. During its formative years Plunkett was president, executive vice president, and governor. Following the society’s first two pivotal decades he was appointed AES Executive Director in 1974. In the ensuing years, he was responsible for the expansion of membership into Europe and the implementation and stability of AES conventions in several parts of the world. He remained active in AES affairs far beyond its 50th Anniversary in 1998, attending international conventions and serving as a good will ambassador and a valued advisor for young and old audio professionals alike.

Plunkett received numerous AES honors throughout his more than 50 years of active service. These include Fellowship and Honorary Awards and the Distinguished Service Medal. An irreplaceable member of the professional audio community, he will be deeply missed by everyone who had the good fortune to know and work with him.

The viewing is Tuesday, July 19 at the John J. Fox Funeral Home, 2080 Boston Post Road, Larchmont, N.Y., between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 20 at 11 a.m., there will be a Mass at St. Augustine Church, corner of Cherry & Larchmont Avenues, Larchmont, N.Y. It has been requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the charity of your choice.

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