Sad News: Leroy Pletten

Leroy Pletten

2004 and 2008 Prohibition Party vice presidential candidate Leroy John Pletten passed away on April 23, 2015. He was 68.

The National Prohibitionist reports that Pletten was born on November 29, 1946 to parents Einard and Velora Pletten in Tyler, MN. Pletten worked as a Personnel Management Specialist in the Army before retiring and becoming active in the Prohibition Party as the state chairman of the party’s Michigan affiliate, as well as treasurer of the national party. He was Gene Amondson’s running mate in ’04 and ’08. According to the National Prohibitionist, “His most important service to the Party was preparing the legal defense against Earl Dodge’s lawsuit seeking control of the Pennock Trust income.”

According to his obituary, posted here at Echo Press:

Leroy passed away at the age of 68 of liver toxicity due to an allergic reaction to dietary supplements on Thursday, April 23, 2015.

Leroy was preceded in death by his parents; and brothers, Donald and Calvin.

He is survived by sisters, Anita (Chris) Guelcher of Minneapolis, Carol (David) Braaten of Farwell, Gloria Wartner of Cyrus; brother, Ronald (Elizabeth) Pletten of Anoka; many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, May 2 at 11 a.m. at Glenwood United Parish Church, 10 17th Ave. NE, Glenwood; with visitation one hour prior to the service.

Inurnment (sic) will be at a later date since he chose to donate his body to the University of Minnesota Medical and Science Department in hopes of helping future generations through medical research.

25 thoughts on “Sad News: Leroy Pletten

  1. NewFederalist

    I’m sure there must be an interesting back story on this gentleman. RIP

  2. Jed Ziggler Post author

    Also of note, NP identifies three declared candidates for the Prohibition Party’s presidential nomination: Pennsylvania’s James Hedges, who sought the nomination in 2011 and is a former elected Prohibitionist, Bill Bayes, a “new member”, and Andrew Coon, a “non-member activist.” I’d say they’d be insane not to nominate Hedges, but I said that in ’11…

    Tentative date for the conference call to select the ticket and new officers is 7/31.

  3. paulie

    Anyone know the backstory of them announcing a convention site and likely presidential candidate, then cancelling?

  4. langa

    I’m not trying to make fun of someone’s death, but does anyone else find it a bit ironic that a Prohibitionist died because of liver problems?

  5. NewFederalist

    That is kind of what I meant by an interesting back story. The fact that the obit contained no info about a wife or children seemed curious as well. Like you, langa, I am not trying to imply anything about someone who has departed but the story does not seem usual for a member of the Prohibition Party.

  6. NewFederalist

    As for the cancelation of the convention… I either read it on Saturn’s Repository with the article about Greg Seltzer stepping down as Prohibition chairman and presidential candidate due to his appointment to an election board in Maryland or on BAN. It is the first time since 1872 they have not had a national nominating convention. Now that I think about it that sounds like Richard Winger so I must have read it on BAN.

  7. paulie

    It was reported on BAN and in NP. Too many members were ill or otherwise unable to attend.

    I think there was more to it than that. They had a chairman and not official but likely to be nominated presidential candidate, and then he resigned and shortly before or after that the convention was cancelled. There could have been a falling out of some sort; I am just somewhat curious as to the details. It’s possible it could have been his health, but I don’t know.

  8. paulie

    I’m not trying to make fun of someone’s death, but does anyone else find it a bit ironic that a Prohibitionist died because of liver problems?

    I don’t know whether this was the case here, but a lot of prohibitionists are recovering alcoholics. That’s not to say that all of them are, or that a large percentage of recovering alcoholics are prohibitionists.

  9. paulie

    due to his appointment to an election board in Maryland

    Missed this part earlier. I guess that answers my question, thanks!

  10. William Saturn

    I did not know this happened. Jim Hedges e-mailed me a National Prohibitionist newsletter today.

    From what I know, Pletten was concerned more about the horrors of smoking than drink. His views were generally more liberal than others in the party. He had a role in the Dodge split as part of the anti-Dodge faction and was very suspicious of people that tried to contact him. I found that he also edited wikipedia some, but I can’t recall the exact circumstances.

  11. paulie

    Pletten was concerned more about the horrors of smoking than drink.

    Does the Prohibition Party have an official plank to outlaw tobacco?

  12. William Saturn

    Does the Prohibition Party have an official plank to outlaw tobacco?

    From the 2012 platform:

    Tobacco is known as the “gateway drug,” meaning that early use of tobacco leads a person into the use of stronger drugs. We support programs to help tobacco farmers transition to growing alternative crops. Until alcohol and tobacco are again covered under a stronger Volstead Act, we support higher taxes on both.

  13. William Saturn

    I remember now about Pletten’s wikipedia activities.

    He edited under the username “Smokedoctor.” Here’s a link to his contributions:

    In 2008 (a few months after Dodge died), he edited the entry for Earl Dodge with negative attacks on the Dodge faction, including that Dodge was nominated “at a private meeting in his home attended by perhaps three or four adherents.” He changed the name of Dodge’s faction to the “new secessionist Party.” He would then get into a full-on edit war with Dodge’s son over the entry. The talk page for the article is quite interesting

    He also edited the Prohibition Party entry by adding to the lead that the party deals “with the starter/gateway drug, tobacco.” That was removed soon thereafter.

  14. Carol

    To all of you who are posting on this website after Leroy Pletten’s death due to liver toxicity, I would like to clarify for you! I am his younger sister. Leroy took some dietary supplements which were meant to “promote better health” unfortunately he had an allergic reaction to them and they poisoned his liver. Yes it is ironic that someone from the Prohibition Party would die of liver toxicity. I can without fear of misrepresentation state that to my knowledge, Leroy never had an alcoholic drink of any kind pass through his lips! He was an eccentric person who spent his time on earth trying to help others understand the harmful effects of tobacco. He had asthma and was subjected to working in his early years in a smoke filled environment. His employer did not relocate him to a smoke-free environment unfortunately. Through all Leroy’s efforts to educate the public, the majority of public environments in America are now smoke-free. Please if you have any other questions pertaining to Leroy, feel free to email me at

  15. Carol

    I also noticed that someone had inquired into whether or not Leroy had a wife or children. The answer to that question as well is NO he was never married and No he didn’t have any children. Leroy devoted his entire life following his short career with the US government to the injustices that he was subjected to regarding tobacco and smoke in the workplace. He did not have time for a wife or children. Maybe his life would have been different had the no smoking in buildings policy been enforced a couple of decades earlier! Thank you for your sympathies.

  16. Tom D.

    I’ve known Leroy for five years or so. To his family and friends, I am sorry for your loss.

    I am quite impressed with his website and all of the hard work he put into it. My question is: is someone going to maintain (and pay for) the site? I would hate to see the site go away, now that he is gone.

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