Alan Caldwell Plants passed away from a long battle with stage 4 colon cancer on June 17, 2022. Alan is preceded in death by his sister, Amber Celena Plants, his uncles, Reverend Milt Hill and JW Hill, and his grandparents, Reverend Donald and Jeanette Plants and Milton and Martha Hill. He is survived by his parents, Donald and Norma Plants, his sisters, Amy Davis and Andrea Plants, his teenage children, Scarlett and Cooper Plants, and his wife, Barbara Plants.
Christopher Reeves said, “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” Alan embodied this definition – first as a baby who fought off double pneumonia and as an adult as he fought metastatic colon cancer until his last day. He never gave up. That was always Alan’s mindset. In his words, “Why play if you’re not trying to win?” He was determined - not allowing cancer to stop him from working or from being a father and a husband.
Alan was a perfectionist – passionate and precise - that’s why you wouldn’t want him as a Pictionary partner, but you’d definitely want him for everything else in your life. He was a problem-solver. Give him a ruler and calculator and step aside. After graduating from USF, Alan’s perfectionism helped him become a well-respected structural engineer winning the Polk County Engineer of the Year Award.
Alan was a modern-day renaissance man – an athlete, a musician, a gardener, a woodworker, an avid reader loving poetry and the Harry Potter series, and more recently a novice cook. He could hold a conversation about anything and everything. I can see him now standing his wide, self-assured stance with his unassuming quiet confidence.
There are so many things I’ll miss about Alan, but I think what I’ll miss the most is his witty sense of humor. If you know him, you know his signature finger point and his one-sided smile. Alan could make you laugh until your stomach cramped. I couldn’t look at him in the congregation while standing in the choir because all it took was his raised eyebrow, and I’d have to force myself not to laugh.
In one of Alan’s recent Facebook posts he said, “I would like to take a moment to thank some people in my life and let everyone know that there are good things happening all around us. Sometimes we are on the receiving end and sometimes we are on the giving end.” Alan was usually on the giving end being fiercely loving and loyal to his family. He loved spending time with his kids – taking them to the library as children and watching movies and TV series as teenagers.
I couldn’t end this tribute to Alan without recognizing my new sister-in-law, Barbara Plants. Alan said that he never believed in “meant-to-be” until he met Barbara. I will be forever grateful for her – for her gentle kindness and compassion, but mostly for the selfless love I saw in her eyes each time she looked at Alan. Alan called her his superhero, and now she is mine. Our family is so happy that he finally found true love.
Although Alan knew he was prepared for his heavenly body, he fought tenaciously against “the dying of the light;” he had so many people to love and so many reasons to live.
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Click here to view a webcast of the service on 6/25/2022 at 10:55 AM, Eastern Standard Time.
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A Memorial Tree was planted for Alan