James Frederick Palmer, 86, passed away peacefully on Monday, April 22, 2013. Jim was born July 8, 1926, in Henderson County, Ill., to Fred and Nellie Palmer. The second of three sons, he grew up in the farming country near Raritan and Media, Ill. He graduated from Media High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II and was honorably discharged on Aug. 3, 1946. Following his military service, he enrolled at Monmouth College and Kansas State University and then transferred to the University of Illinois completing first a bachelor's and then his doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1953.
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Jim married Doris Pierson on Oct. 5, 1951, and they started a private veterinary practice in Roseville, Ill. They soon started a family and their five children were born over nine years from 1956-1965. In 1969, Jim took a position in Hawaii as a state veterinarian for Swine Disease Control. He moved his family to the island of Oahu where they spent three years living in Kailua. In 1972, Jim took a position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the family moved to Montana and settled in Bozeman. When four of their five children had graduated from high school, Jim, Doris and their son, John, moved to Australia for a two-year stint with the USDA foreign programs unit. They also lived in New Zealand, Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Washington, D.C. before returning to Bozeman to retire.
Jim's passions were travel, photography and hunting mushrooms. He also loved the art of storytelling and spending hours in his retirement both listening to and weaving yarns with his coffee-club colleagues. He was passionate about education and the pursuit of knowledge, serving as school board president in Roseville, Ill., and instilling the value of education into the lives of all his children. Jim enjoyed spending time in the mountains and was still camping into his 80's. As a veterinarian, Jim loved animals and over the course of his life enjoyed a variety of pets. Beyond cats and dogs, the Palmer family menagerie included guinea pigs, turtles, tropical fish, skunks, a chicken hawk, a pet pig and a pair of peacocks.
Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Doris. He is survived by his five children; son, Jim Palmer of New Orleans, La.; daughter, Martha (Kenny) Krein of Gillette, Wyo.; son, Robert (Janet) Palmer of Palatine, Ill.; daughter, Betsy Palmer (John Lama) of Bozeman; and son, John Palmer of Bozeman; his seven grandchildren, Ethan, Carlos, Erin, Justin, Jordan, Sonam and Seri; and his step-granddaughter, Beatriz; and two great-grandsons, Adan and Alexander.
Although Jim will be greatly missed by his family and friends, we feel blessed to have shared a wonderful life journey with him. We love you Dad.
A celebration of Jim's life will be held at Dokken-Nelson Sunset Chapel on Saturday, April 27 at 10 a.m. Memorials in his honor may be sent to Gallatin Mental Health Center, 699 Farmhouse Ln., Bozeman, MT 59715.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Apr. 27, 2013