SBS Swiss Benevolent Society
of San Francisco

Dear Friends & Family,

It is with a heavy heart that we write to notify you that Ernest Plattner passed away on May 25th, 2016. He went peacefully, at home, surrounded by his family. We thank you for your friendship to Ernest and our family throughout the years, and wish you good health and happiness.

The Plattner Family


1928 - 2016

Ernest Plattner was the son of Ernest and Marie Plattner in Basel, Switzerland, with one brother, Hans-Ruedi, all of whom have preceded Ernest in death. Ernest is survived by his wonderful wife of 54 years, Rita, and two lovely daughters, Gabriella and Stephanie.

Growing up, Ernest heard stories from his father of the fabulous 1939 World’s Fair in New York. He wanted to live in America, and this desire shaped his life’s path.

A graduate of business college in Basel in 1948, he worked at Novartis in Basel and Istanbul. He then served as a First Lieutenant in the Swiss Army, before obtaining a position as banker trainee for the Swiss Bank Corporation in New York. Ernest’s dream was coming true, and he loved living in the U.S.

In 1959 the bank offered Ernest a promotion if he returned to Switzerland, but he would not give up his dream. Instead, Ernest became Assistant to the President of the Stoffel Co. in Tuckahoe, New York. On a visit back to Basel, Ernest saw Rita Louise Wagner while they shared a ride on the same streetcar. It was love at first sight. They were married in 1962, and Rita joined Ernest on their adventures in America together.

Ernest soon rose to become Stoffel’s Manager of Midwest Operations and moved to Chicago. While in Chicago, Gabriella and Stephanie were born. Despite loving his adopted country, Ernest maintained strong ties with the Swiss community, and became President of the Chicago Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce.

In 1976, the Swiss Bank offered Ernest a position managing its growing San Francisco branch. Ernest accepted and the family moved to San Anselmo in 1976. In addition to his demanding job, Ernest founded the San Francisco Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce. He also regularly returned to Basel to participate in Fasnacht as a drummer with the Olympia, of which his father had been president for many years. This was one of his great joys in life.

Following retirement in 1992, Ernest led the Swiss Benevolent Society for ten years, contributing to the welfare of others. At the same time, he enjoyed golf, stamp collecting, extensive international travel, and time with his family and friends.

Friends remember Ernest for his welcoming spirit, the open doors of his and Rita’s house to visitors, and his ongoing loyalty.

Ernest’s ashes were scattered in the hills above his home, under his favorite oak tree, on May 29th. If desired, instead of flowers, friends may make a memorial contribution in Ernest’s name to the Swiss Benevolent Society.

Tax ID
Swiss Benevolent Society
Pier 17, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94111
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