ADAMS -- The Plunkett name, one of the town’s most recognizable, will soon be honored far from the hills of Berkshire County thanks to native Douglas Plunkett’s decades of service to a senior living facility in Las Vegas, Nev.
On Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 3:30 p.m., roughly 300 people are expected to attend a ceremony at Vegas’ Clark Towers Court that will officially rename Clark Towers Senior Apartments to the Gray-Plunkett-Jydstrup Senior Living Facility. The new name pays respect to Plunkett and two fellow longtime members of the facility’s board of directors: Gary Gray and Douglas Jydstrup.
At the ceremony, former Nevada Governor and U.S. Senator Richard Bryan is scheduled to speak.
In an interview last week, Plunkett noted the irony that a building would be named in his honor, after having grown up in a town where streets, a hospital, apartments -- even his junior high school -- carried the Plunkett name.
"It certainly was a surprise," Plunkett said, "I was born in Plunkett Hospital." He recalled various Adams buildings and monuments that bear the Plunkett mark.
Theodore Robinson Plunkett, Plunkett’s grandfather and a state senator in the 1930s, advocated moving the Massachusetts War Memorial Tower to the summit of Mount Greylock. Theodore and his brother, Charles Timothy Plunkett, funded the majority of Plunkett Memorial Hospital and Plunkett Junior High School -- now C.T. Plunkett Elementary School. The statue of President William McKinley in the heart of downtown is there because the former president visited town to vacation with Plunkett’s great grandfather, William Brown Plunkett.
The 134-unit facility in Las Vegas, the latest to be touched by the Plunkett lineage, was built in 1975 to provide equal opportunity housing for low-income seniors. It is funded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 236 Program and Loan Management Set-Aside Section 8 program. To qualify, applicants must be over 62 and earn less than $12,000 per year.
Plunkett, a teacher and administrator in his career, initially became involved with the facility through Clark County Teachers Association. He was vice president of the association at the time the project’s proposal. The association voted to front HUD money to get the project off the ground.
Plunkett volunteered to join Clark Towers board of directors in 1978, where he’s remained up to this day.
"I said to myself ‘I’d like to continue helping provide senior living, because I was there when Clark Towers started.’ ... [The facility is] just absolutely gorgeous, and we’ve done our best to keep it that way. We consider it the best senior living in Las Vegas. I’m proud of it."
Plunkett graduated Lenox School for Boys in 1961, later attending Rhode Island School of Design and North Adams State College. He served with the U.S. Army in Korea in 1963, and later joined his brother, Ted, in Las Vegas. There, he was employed by Clark County school system, met his wife and had two children.
To reach Phil Demers, email email@example.com.