Warm tributes to Aldeburgh 84-year-old

A PENSIONER who died in hospital after a freak road accident was a skilled amateur potter, musician, and had been skiing at the age of 84.Karl Wolfgang "Tony" Plessner, who died on Tuesday after the accident in Aldeburgh on August 29, was a refugee from Nazi Germany who went on to be a research scientist, conducting significant study in the development of optical fibres, essential to the internet.

A PENSIONER who died in hospital after a freak road accident was a skilled amateur potter, musician, and had been skiing at the age of 84.

Karl Wolfgang "Tony" Plessner, who died on Tuesday after the accident in Aldeburgh on August 29, was a refugee from Nazi Germany who went on to be a research scientist, conducting significant study in the development of optical fibres, essential to the internet.

It is believed he fell off his bicycle when a driver opened their car door and caught him. He suffered serious head injuries and died in hospital on Tuesday.

Today his family said he was a well-known member of the Aldeburgh community and described him as a “kind and thoughtful man”.

He was very active locally, doing voluntary work for Meals-on-Wheels, the Aldeburgh Museum and other groups, as well as assisting neighbours with repairs, transport and errands.

He was a skilled amateur potter and musician, playing the cello with Woodbridge's amateur orchestra, his family said.

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He was also active socially, attending concerts and bridge parties with his many friends.

“I have never known anybody who was so full of life, enthusiasm and energy,” said a relative. “How many people go skiing at the age of 84?”

Born in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland) in 1923, he was a refugee from the Nazi regime, escaping to Britain in 1939.

He was educated at Bury Grammar School, Lancashire, and Manchester University, going on to earn a PhD in electrical engineering at Imperial College, London.

He was employed for many years as a research scientist for BICC, now part of Balfour Beatty, exploring ways of improving insulating materials.

He conducted important and significant research in the development of optical fibres, essential to modern telecommunications and the internet.

He was married in 1946 to Carla Nagelschmidt and had two daughters. The family lived in Chipperfield, Hertfordshire for many years.

After the death of his first wife in 1981 he married Marylyn Whitrow, who brought him to Aldeburgh where he became a much-loved stepfather to her children and grandchildren.

He continued to live in Aldeburgh after her death in 2000.

He is survived by two children, two grandchildren, eight stepchildren and many step grandchildren.

Police are renewing appeals for anyone who saw the incident, which happened opposite the cinema just before 9.50am.

Anyone with any information should contact Sgt Steve Knight or Pc Denise Baldry at Halesworth Roads Policing Unit on 01986 835350.