“Our Vanessa Grace Plotkin, or how we nicknamed her, Nessa, Nessie or Ness," says Vanessa Plotkin's father, Gary Plotkin, of the daughter whom he lost in the Oakland warehouse fire. "I had fun with her name: Princess Ness, your ness-Ness, or messy-Ness, happy-Ness, super-Ness, sweet-Ness godly-Ness, smart-Ness, positive-Ness and not the least, lovely-Ness.”
Plotkin, a 21-year-old junior from Lakewood in Southern California who was majoring in sociology, moved to Berkeley in August. She’d found a home at Cal, where she roomed with her close friend, Jenny Morris, who also died in the Dec. 2 blaze.
“We attended the Lake Merritt vigil for all of the victims of this fire and that vigil gave me the full picture of my daughter,” Gary Plotkin says. “The love and acceptance that exists in this community is who she is -- who she has always been since her birth -- and by her attending school here only increased that reverberation that existed in her.”
It took Plotkin two tries to get into Berkeley, her dad says, noting that she was “determined, focused and persistent.” When she got to Cal, Plotkin “reached her mountaintop," her father says. “This is where she belonged. This was her dream. This is where she was excelling.”
As part of her Cal experience, Plotkin had recently started volunteering at the campus radio station, KALX. “We will feel the loss of her kindness, bright smile, and love for music,” the station wrote in a statement about Plotkin.