Dr. James T. Planicka died suddenly May 17, at Inova Fairfax Hospital during a minor surgical procedure. He was highly regarded as both a resident and dentist in McLean for more than 37 years. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he received his undergraduate degree from Ohio Wesleyan University where he was an outstanding scholar, athlete and musician. His talent with several musical instruments brought him statewide recognition as did his abilities in track and field and speed skating. While pursuing his doctor of dental surgery degree at Ohio State University, Jim also performed as a bass man with jazz and folk groups. Following graduation, he served in the Army National Guard Medical Corps and established his first practice in the Cleveland Park area of Washington, D.C. where, over the next 10 years, he gained a loyal following in the International community.
Two years after building a home for his young family in McLean, Planicka relocated his practice to the area, where he has been an active member of the community since 1971. He served as an elder of Immanuel Presbyterian Church, board member of the Speech and Language Center, player agent for McLean Little League, meet official for Tuckahoe Swim Team, and as volunteer for Boy Scout, Camp Fire, School and charity programs. His expertise in dentistry has placed him in America’s Top 100 Dentists and Virginia’s Top Dentists, consistently since the inception of those rankings, and his patients have regarded him as a trusted doctor and valued friend for more than 45 years. He was a highly skilled, compassionate and honorable professional, dedicated to the welfare of his patients.
Planicka was a devoted family man whose love, generosity of spirit, sense of humor, humility and decency set a high standard to live by. He was married to his wife, Caroline, for 47 years and was father to their four wonderful children, Greg Planicka, Juliet Adams, Carole “Sam” Woodard and Mike Planicka. He was grandfather to seven adoring grandchildren, Mikie, Ashley, Caroline, Tabitha, Greyson, Chase and Steele. His untimely death is deeply mourned by his family, sister Lois, brother Carl and wife Cindy, niece Laura and by his wife’s sister Betsy, husband Bernard and two nephews Tom and Andy.