Robert (Bob) W. Plath - Champion of Forgiveness - Founder of Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance
On November 13, 2015 Robert W. Plath, Creator Of International Forgiveness Day Passed away
Robert W. Plath (June 2, 1926 - November 13, 2015)
Robert W. Plath passed quietly at 1:52 PM on Friday November 13th in the Intensive Care Unit of St Mary's Hospital in San Francisco. He was surrounded by family and friends.
Mr. Plath, the founder of the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance and Creator of International Forgiveness Day received last rites at 1:10 PM in a "closing ritual," administered by Father Martin Muruil, the attending Chaplin. The ceremony was attended by his two nephews, David and Craig Whyte, along with several friends. He is survived by his two sisters, Mary and Helen along with six nephews and two nieces. He is preceded in death by his father, Hugo Plath (who died of a heart attack when Bob was 13 years old), his mother, Alice Plath and his youngest brother, Jim Plath
Mr. Plath was hospitalized on Thursday November 5th as the result of a choking accident at a local restaurant. He lingered in an induced coma for several days before he succumbed to the effects of brain damage.
Robert W. Plath was a popular attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area. He earned his Bachelor's Degree at the University of Michigan where he was also a substitute defensive back on the varsity football team and a center fielder on the varsity baseball team. After college, he continued to play football on a semi-pro league team.
Following a stint in the U.S. Coast Guard, he received his legal education at the San Francisco Hastings School of Law where he and his classmate, Willie L. Brown, Jr, worked as school janitors to help pay their way through school. Willie Brown, now a long-time friend, went on to become Speaker of the California State Assembly and later Mayor of San Francisco.
Following law school, Bob was mentored by San Francisco attorney, Vincent Hallinan, who ran for President of the United States in the 1952 election, as the candidate for Henry Wallace's Progressive Party and was the third highest polling candidate in the election. Bob's tenure as a Hallinan associate paired him on several cases with Hallinan's son, Terrence, who went on to become the District Attorney of San Francisco.
When Bob became an independent attorney, he built his practice on cases that gained him a reputation as a defender of "the little guy." In many of his cases, he successfully represented ordinary people against much larger adversaries like corporate or government entities.
During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy where he trained to command an Assault Landing Craft used to deliver combat troops onto the beach. The end of the war brought his tour of duty to an end. It spanned two years. During the Korean War, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard and took command of an 83-foot Search and Rescue vessel assigned in the State of Washington. He commanded a crew of 11 men. At the end of his tour of duty, he decided he rather be a lawyer than a boat captain.
At the height of the Civil Rights Movement, following the highly publicized murders of civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, Bob joined a committee of 19 other attorneys to help protect the rights of the abused Black residents in that area. They spent two months in Mississippi, at the risk of their own lives, to take depositions of witnesses to civil rights abuses and helped build a body of evidence for the sake of civil rights advocacy and to promote the civil rights bill that was eventually passed in late 1964.
His fights for the rights of others earned him a leadership position in the boycott against Chrysler Corporation for racial discrimination by the corporation in San Francisco in 1965.
He crusaded for more humane birthing practices by promoting "Gentle Birthing." It was a technique created by obstetrician, Dr. Frederick Leboyer, author of the book, "Birth Without Violence." The method was designed to help ease the transition from the womb into the real world. Bob traveled approximately 1.5 years around the United States and in China, teaching techniques and benefits of the Gentle Birth method.
He is a founding board member and Director of Veterans Housing & Services, a Marin County nonprofit dedicated to veterans housing.
During the mid-1980s, Bob discovered the set of books known as the "Course in Miracles." He became an avid student and eventually elevated his knowledge and skills to become a teacher of the course. He believed that the power of the Course in Miracles should be shared with those most in need of its teachings. So he applied for and received permission to teach the Course in Miracles to the inmates of San Quentin State Prison. He taught classes there for over five years. While teaching his courses, he met and befriended another teacher who was working with inmates - Marianne Williamson. Ms. Williamson has since become an international best-selling author and spiritual teacher. She is also a strong supporter and advocate of the life mission that Bob had been searching for, The Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance.
In 1996, at the age of 70 years, Robert W. Plath founded the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance because he saw forgiveness as the key to bringing about peace between people and saving the world. Then as a way of memorializing the act of Forgiveness in the form a day on the calendar, he created International Forgiveness Day and assigned it to the first Sunday in August. It was is dream that this would become the first internationally sanctioned holiday.
The mission of the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance is to promote awareness and knowledge of the true power of forgiveness through the empirical basis of scientific findings related to as well as the psychological, physiological, emotional and spiritual benefits of the forgiveness process.
The Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance focuses on providing training in the techniques of forgiveness as well as in the knowledge of the psychological, physiological, emotional and spiritual benefits of the forgiveness process. Encouraged by the groundbreaking work of Dr. Fred Luskin of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project, Robert Plath also promotes the spread of awareness and knowledge of the scientific findings related to forgiveness as a key function of The Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance.
The Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance pays tribute to Heroes of Forgiveness - people who exemplify the power of forgiveness by overcoming personal tragedies and traumas and by moving from anger and revenge to the transformative release of forgiveness and reconciliation. The Alliance also honors Champions of Forgiveness - those who dedicate their lives and work to expanding awareness and knowledge about forgiveness and helping others to experience its power.