1926 ~ 2011
Heir ein kommen, bitte my dad would holler boldly toward the front door. When I was a kid, I figured everyone's dad shouted out salutations in the warmest German or Russian. When I was a teenager I understood most dads didn't, but by then I knew my dad was a bona fide goofy guy, so it didn't matter what he hollered. I'd seen him try to get an echo in too many crazy locations to let a little yelling embarrass me. Life was his "grand and glorious adventure" and he meant it.
On Friday, December 2, 2011, I watched my dad's life ebb and close into silence. But I'm sure there was someone hollering a welcome through the door to that Grand and Glorious place.
My mom asked me to be the voice of this obituary for my dad. He would cringe at glorification but I want you to know my dad, be in awe of his genius, yet still see him as he is, self-deprecating, funny, smart, handsome, perfect and flawed.
Edward Paul Palmer, was born 19 March 1926 to Leo and Irene Chamberlain Palmer in Cedar City, Utah, the oldest of 7 children.* In a recent journal, my dad wrote of his parents: "Leo and Irene have shown me the most admirable marriage." Childhood included work: irrigation turns, helping grandpa, carpentry with dad, digging post holes, errands for mom, school, etc.; and play: ice skating on Navajo Lake, cub scouts and boy scouts, building model ships, reading the battle scenes from The Book of Mormon, playing African Safari in Doc McFarlane's back yard, making guns and swords in the shop with his brothers, teasing and tormenting his sisters, etc.; a classic-model American boy.
*those 7 siblings, Paul, JoAnna, Avis, Brent, Roland,Zonie and Claudia, managed to live through the trauma and drama of childhood. They, along with their spouses, have carried on traditions which have given us a powerful legacy. Thank you.
In 1945, Paul enlisted in the US Navy and served 2 years during WWII, playing trumpet in dance bands all along the way. He was discharged in Jacksonville, Florida and hitchhiked home. He was called on an LDS mission to the East Central States. He was told when he got off the train in Ashland, Kentucky to cross the train yard and knock on the door of the house of a member family, the Dillistone's. He did. When the door opened he looked into the face of a young woman, Esther June Dillistone. Paul completed his mission, and waited for June to complete hers; he sent her a ring and asked her to come to Utah to be his wife. Paul and June were married 20 December, 1949 in the St. George temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Dad's education moved from BAC in Cedar City to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. There, he received his Bachelor of Science in Physics, and his Ph.D in Physics, with Physical Chemistry and Mathematics minors and inductions into Phi Kappa Phi and other academic societies. June and Paul had four children while living in Stadium Village at the U, and made many of their lifelong friends.
Paul loved research! His professional positions showed it: Ramo-Wooldridge Corp. in Los Angeles, Director of the High Velocity Lab, professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the U, Vice President of Utah Research and Development Co., and ultimately as a professor of physics at BYU. Paul and June moved their growing family of 9 children to the Edgemont area of Provo in 1966. Many technical publications, grants, presentations, field trips, dissertations, theses, two children, and one patent later, Paul retired from BYU in 1991.
My dad made smart and talented look easy. As kids we assumed a lot of things about people because of who he was. We assumed if you needed a visual aid you should draw, whittle, ink press, oil paint or otherwise make one; that every child in Utah has hiked Angel's Landing, or East Rim Trail, or the Zion Narrows, or all three; that camping is high art and backpacking is even higher; that children are regularly trundled out of bed at 3 am to watch meteor showers; that "pump your bilges" and "swab your deck" were part of the common vernacular; that there is nothing which is either too lofty or too trivial to be examined, whether it's thermonuclear warfare, the baritone who sang in Il Travitore, the appeal of Hey, Jude, or the use of a straight razor, that each of life's experiences is a "grand and glorious adventure", and that all should champion the cause of Zion!
Paul's family includes a lot of people! June and their 11 children and their spouses: Veea + LeEarl (deceased) Baker, Ed, Alan + Peggy, Richard + Cathy, Leona + Gaylen Haag, Daniel + Stephanie, Nathan + Debbie, Ann + James Powell, Martha + Barry Roberts, Timothy + Meridy, Benjamin + Candice; 51 grandchildren and 43 great grandchildren (with 3 more on the way)!
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. in the Edgemont 2nd Ward Chapel, 555 East 3230 North, Provo, Utah. Friends may call at Berg Mortuary, 185 East Center Street, Provo, Utah on Tuesday evening from 6 until 8 and at the church on Wednesday morning from 9:30 until 10:30. The interment will be in the Cedar City, Utah cemetery on Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.
The Palmer family thanks Alpine Home Care and Hospice, we thank each of you for your help and support with Paul. Verna and Shelly, you were special blessings for our mom. Thank you. Condolences may be sent to the family through email@example.com.