Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Obituary - Lewis Wilson Palmer

Without question, this is one of the most difficult pieces I have ever had to write. How do you capture a life lived well and long? A life of which you were an integral part. I'm still not sure. I only hope I have done justice to a man who was loved by all who knew him. Good-bye Lewis, you live on through your family who are so like you.

Lewis Wilson Palmer
27 April 1918 – 12 January 2011

If the measure of a man's worth is the lives he has touched
and the friends he has made, Lewis Palmer
was truly the wealthiest man on earth.

Lewis Wilson Palmer went home to be with his beloved wife Lucille on 12 January 2011.

Lewis was born an identical twin on 27 April 1918, in Bainville, Montana, to the late Edward Mearl and Olive Suter Palmer. At the height of the depression and drought the Palmer family gave up on the dry earth of eastern Montana, loaded their worldly possessions into a boxcar, and moved to the green beauty of the Mission Valley. E.M. and his sons began their new life in the Mission Valley on a small farm west of Charlo.

Lewis had the good sense to marry Emma Lucille Harvey on July 3, 1940, in Dixon, Montana. Childhood friends, they shared a love that would endure until her death in 1999. Farming and times were tough. As Lewis now had a growing family to provide for, he left the farm to find work. He drove a milk truck and prospected for gold in Idaho, but soon found the job for which he would forever be identified.

For forty years Lewis was the ditch rider for the Mission Valley Irrigation Project. There could have been no more perfect job for him. Lewis loved the outdoors, the people he worked with and the farmers he served. In his 93 years he probably covered every inch of the Valley and met every family. He left his mark wherever he traveled. Look out across the Valley. See the burst of yellow iris? Lewis Palmer was there.

He trapped, he fished, he hunted; in his spare time he took up taxidermy. From jackalopes to standing Emu, he created mounts for them all. And he proudly displayed them for many years in the annual Charlo Fourth of July Parade. The town of Charlo honored him with the title of “Charlo’s Most Beloved Citizen.”

Life with Lewis Palmer was always an adventure. From slipping live fish into the children’s evening bath water to teaching those children, their children, and his great grandchildren the secret of catching a fish. He said it often and meant it; "Family is the most important thing.”

Lewis’ best friend was his brother Delbert. Del came to town every morning to collect his mail and stop at Lewis' for coffee and conversation. As hard as it is to believe, they had something to say to each other every morning even after ninety years. Often in a language all their own and often not requiring that a sentence be finished; they talked, planned, and executed the day's adventures. Their love of each other is something the family will hold in their hearts and memory forever.

Lewis’ green thumb was legendary; from the glorious begonias that bloomed every year, to his huge flower and vegetable gardens, and his uncanny knack for tree grafting that produced some of the most unique trees in the Valley.

But were he to be remembered for anything it would be his sense of community. He loved his neighbors. And he shared his love with them all. Their troubles were his troubles; their joys his joys. He unselfishly shared his time, knowledge, humor, possessions, and many stories with them. If Lewis could do it, he would do it.

With the passing of Lewis Palmer the Valley turns the last page on a wonderful life and says good-bye to a wonderful man. We are all the richer for having known him.

Family names withheld.


Blogger DearMYRTLE said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this tender time, fM.

January 18, 2011 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger Thomas MacEntee said...

A wonderful tribute to a wonderful man. You done good fM.

January 18, 2011 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Family Curator said...

Sending love and prayers your way. Thank you for sharing these beautiful memories.

January 18, 2011 at 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful panegyric to a man you obviously loved and knew well. So great to be able to honor those who have passed and share with others why they meant so much to us.

January 18, 2011 at 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Donna - What's Past is Prologue said...


A beautifully written tribute that captures the spirit of a beautiful man. May he rest in peace.


January 18, 2011 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger my Heritage Happens said...

You have given your FIL a most wonderful tribute! He sounds like he was such a wonderful man! I LOVE the story of the fish in the bath water. I am truly sorry you have to all deal with his loss. Hugs!

January 18, 2011 at 4:28 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

What a lovely tribute to a well-loved man. Blessings to those who love him.

January 18, 2011 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Well done fM. Prayers for the family, may he rest in peace.

January 18, 2011 at 6:30 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

What a wonderful tribute. Prayers and thoughts are with you and the family at this time of loss.

January 18, 2011 at 7:03 PM  
Blogger Sheri Fenley said...

Beautiful words and a wonderful tribute to the man and the rich life he had. Prayers and hugs fM.

January 18, 2011 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger GR8Dame said...

What a lovely tribute to someone who must truly have been a treasure. I wish I had known him.

January 18, 2011 at 9:21 PM  
Blogger Coloring Outside the Lines said...

You've written a sweet celebration of his life. Prayers for you and your family during this time of sorrow.

January 19, 2011 at 5:27 AM  
Anonymous Amy Coffin said...

Hugs and prayers to you and yours during this time.

January 19, 2011 at 9:44 AM  
Anonymous Los Angeles Maids said...

Lewis Wilson Palmer must be a very nice guy. He has befriended many people and has touched many people's lives. He is really wealthy.

January 21, 2011 at 8:09 AM  
Blogger Leslie Ann said...

What a wonderful tribute! We should all be so lucky to have someone like Lewis in our lives.

January 27, 2011 at 3:47 AM  

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