David Plumer, 73: Talented electrical engineer

  • Mail this page!
  • Delicious
  • 0

PORTLAND — David Plumer, 73, died Nov. 1, at The Barron Center Nursing Home, where he had been a resident since September 2014.

He was born June 15, 1942, in Massachusetts, a son of Hazel Marie Weithaas Plumer and Alexander T. Plumer.

He was considered a “boy wonder” in the fields of science and technology while growing up in Boston, Massachusetts. After a distinguished career at Boston Technical High School, Plumer attended MIT, where he earned his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering. It was at MIT that he mingled with many of the people who would become instrumental in the computer technology revolution. Plumer’s thesis at MIT was a program that enabled computers to generate music. His work was the foundation for the subsequent development of the synthesizer. Plumer’s technical savvy was legendary. He found all problems interesting and eligible for inventive solutions. Years later he was appropriately dubbed “Mr. Riggy-Wiggy” by his young nephew.

After MIT, Plumer worked for Digital Equipment Corporation as a senior sales analyst for the duration of his career. It was a position that capitalized on both his technical knowledge and his skill in the communication field. While employed by DEC Plumer lived in Waltham, Massachusetts, San Francisco, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, before retiring. He devoted his final years to the care of his parents in an apartment he had added on to his home in Portland.

In San Francisco Plumer met Leroy Miller, a concert pianist who was his partner for 20 years before Miller succumbed to emphysema.

Plumer loved classical music, opera and organ music. He also was a lover of cats and treated each of his feline companions over the years like royalty.

Plumer will be remembered as someone who orchestrated fun and good cheer. He endlessly entertained his family and friends, from “magic” shows in the basement of his childhood home to adventures in far-flung beautiful places. He was also known as someone who always respected and helped those around him. He was always there for anyone who needed him and will be sorely missed.

Plumer was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease several years ago, but his illness did not take a traditional course. Many years after he began to decline, the word “atypical” was used to describe his condition; Plumer also suffered from anxiety and depression. His will to live was seriously affected after his mother died three years ago, also on Nov. 1, as the two were very close.

Beside his partner and his parents, he was predeceased by an uncle, Clarence Kean, and a nephew, Michael Plumer.

Plumer is survived by a sister, Ellen Bollen, of Bridgton; two brothers, John Kensington, New Hampshire, and Paul of Topsham; a niece, Anna Estrella, of Cambridge, Massachusetts; a nephew, Daniel Plumer, of Topsham; a great-niece, Sofia Estrella, of Cambridge, Massachusetts; and an aunt, Beatrice Kean, of Dover, New Hampshire.

A private family service will take place at the Evergreen Cemetery in Portland.