RIP: Jim “Jake” Palmer


February 2, 1931 – December 8, 2021

With great sadness, the Palmer family shares the news of the passing of their father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

Born in Toronto, Jim graduated from the University of British Columbia with an undergraduate degree in Engineering Physics in 1953 and from Queen’s University with a Master’s degree in Nuclear Physics in 1955. He moved to Deep River to work for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, fell in love with Dianne, and married her in Brampton on August 11, 1956. After a honeymoon in Bermuda, the couple moved into their home on Faraday Crescent and began to raise their family. After a 2-year assignment in Idaho Falls, Idaho, they moved to another home on Frontenac Crescent. Jim retired in 1986 and, with Dianne, moved west to Surrey, where they developed new and lasting friendships.

Among many talents, Jim was an amazing carpenter of cabinets and curtain valances for their home and had mastery of the lost art of wallpapering, including the ability to wallpaper light switches and electrical sockets with absolute precision.

A man of integrity, Jim was a dedicated and successful engineer. With pride, he wore an iron ring on the little finger of his working hand as a reminder of his humility and obligation to serve others with a high standard of conduct. Jim made a substantial contribution during his impeccable professional career to the safe, clean, and efficient operation of nuclear reactors. For example, he received a patent for inventing a vapour leak detector, created detailed graphs to monitor emission levels, and presented research at conferences. In addition, Jim was an active member of the Canadian Radiation Protection Association and designed their logo.

His interest in the environment extended to gardening, which in Deep River included being president of the horticultural society and in Surrey, taking the initiative to plant hundreds of daffodils to beautify their retirement community. He would plant groups of bulbs here and there in the fall, watch them grow in the spring, and smile when their yellow flowers appeared. Afterwards, he would dig them all up, shake off the excess dirt, and arrange them on sheets to dry in the garage. Then, each year, he would begin the cycle anew.

Jim was an avid birdwatcher. He participated in the annual Deep River Christmas Bird Count, scouting Balmer Bay and reporting on the home bird feeders. Seeing a Pileated Woodpecker or a flock of Evening Grosbeaks was a pleasure Jim joyfully shared with others. In Surrey, he would see if a Steller’s Jay or Anna’s Hummingbird was visiting the patio shrubbery, then invite Dianne to also watch with delight.

Jim enjoyed golf, games of logic like chess, and making people laugh. He was a Vancouver Grizzlies basketball fan and season ticket holder, attending games with a high-school friend. Although Jim did not play an instrument, he had an appreciation for music, singing in the church choir, listening to his collection of records, and attending the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra performances with Dianne. A responsible person, Jim served as a jury member of a criminal case and block watch participant. He was generous with his time helping to raise funds for several charities. For several years Jim volunteered for the Greater Vancouver Open golf tournament. Once, he had the honour of carrying the sign that displayed players’ scores. Jim engaged with the community through involvement on several committees. For example, he assisted homeowners with property maintenance of gutters and downspouts.

Travel was important. In the early years, Jim led the family on summer car trips. Later, during retirement, he enjoyed long winter vacations in Arizona and California with Dianne. They also went on several memorable cruises. His favorite cruise was through the Panama Canal. He planned each trip with a detailed itinerary that always stated on the last line, “Home – cold beer in the fridge.”

Following the passing of Dianne on May 10, 2021, Jim stayed in their home. He started each day doing the Vancouver Sun’s Sudoku, keeping current with news in the afternoon, continuing the “Happy Hour” tradition, and watching sports in the evening. He loved Dianne and departed from this world, knowing they would be reunited for eternity.

Jim remained strong and handsome throughout his life. He is survived by his three sons Steven (Debra), Michael (Basia), and David (Melanie), three grandchildren Ryan, Laura, and Cameron, and three great-grandchildren Arianna, Dominic, and Hunter. Respecting his wishes, Jim was cremated. There will be no memorial service. In lieu of flowers or donations, if you knew Jim, remember his good humour and “keep smiling.”

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