Born: 1897

Died: April 20, 1941



Rudolph F. Plank was a World War I veteran and an X-ray specialist working at Will Rogers Hospital.  He was the first owner of record of the Swain Camp on Lower Saranac Lake.  In 1925 he was enumerated with his father, George Planck, in Brooklyn, New York, but living in Saranac Lake.  In the 1930 census, he was single, age 32, a lodger in the home of Anna Casey in Saranac Lake, working as a radiologist.  In 1940 he is listed living in New York City, age 43, single, no occupation listed.  He probably bought the lake property in the late 30s, after Lucille Bonar bought it in 1936.  His brother Christopher Plank was the executor of his will, and sold the property to Alvin Filer on June 21, 1941.  He is buried in St. John's Cemetery in Paul Smiths.

Lake Placid News, April 25, 1941


Discovery Made After Wide Search For Rudolph Plank of Saranac Lake

A verdict in the death of Rudolph Plank has been deferred, pending examination of several organs of the body, it was learned today.

An autopsy performed Tuesday night revealed that Plank had been in very poor health at the time of his death, according to Coroner Wm. A. Wardner.

The discovery of an empty narcotic bottle and a hypodermic needle on the premises of Plank's camps influenced local officials to send the organs to the bureau of criminal investigation in Albany for analysis. Holding of the inquest has been held up, pending the laboratory report. Coroner Wardner said that the possibility of suicide has not yet been ruled out.

Despondency over ill health is still among the factors being considered as possible reasons for the X-ray specialist's death, it was intimated. It was also pointed out that it would not be unusual for Plank to have narcotics in his possession, since they are part of a roentgeaologist's equipment.

The body of Rudolph Plank, 41, Saranac Lake X-Ray expert, was found washed ashore on Lower Saranac Lake Tuesday morning after a 16 hour search by state and local police, firemen, Boy Scouts and guides.

The body was discovered by a guide, Leon Kingman, barely 100 yards from Plank's camp, where the victim was last seen Sunday afternoon. The position of his body indicated that Plank might have fallen into the deep water near his camp, struck the jagged rock and lost consciousness while attempting to grasp a log or rock. The victim's head and shoulders were badly bruised.

The coroner stated that Plank must have been in the water since early Sunday afternoon, just a few hours after he was last seen by two friends, John Clancy and George Nader.

Plank, X-ray specialist at the Will Rogers Memorial hospital in Saranac Lake, went to his camp, at the foot of Algonquin avenue Sunday morning with Clancy and Nader to get the place ready for summer.

The trio worked until noon, when Nader went home, saying he would return at 1 o'clock. Clancy remained until 1:15 and was the last to see Plank. Nader returned at 2 in the afternoon, but Plank was nowhere to be seen. He waited at the camp until 4 o'clock and left when Plank failed to put in an appearance.

Plank was still missing Monday morning at 9:30 when Miss Winifred Hegney, secretary at the office which Plank maintained with Dr. Henry Leetch and Dr. George Wilson, tried to locate him. Plank lived in the same building in which he maintained his office. Miss Hegney went to his rooms, found them locked and called Dr. Leetch.

Doctor Leetch, Clancy and Dr. Wilson, who is head of the Will Rogers hospital, went to the camp, but found no trace of Plank, nor any indication that he had spent the night there. All boats were accounted for.

The trio then notified Saranac Lake police, state police and Boy Scouts and a party of volunteers began searching the section between Algonquin avenue and Crescent bay. State troopers from Troop B, Malone, brought a group of bloodhounds to aid in the search. Kingman finally came upon the body while walking along the edge of the lake near the Bonar camp.

Friends declared Plank had been in ill health during the winter and it had been feared that he might have become ill while walking in the woods near his camp.