Our beloved father, grandfather, great grandfather, uncle and friend, Robert William (Bob) Palmer, passed away peacefully with his family at his bedside on February 13, 2020 at the age of 89 years.
Bob will be lovingly remembered by his children, Shirley Henry and her husband Pat; son, Robert Mark Palmer and his wife Jane; son-in-law, Greg Budd; grandchildren, Janine Henry and partner Dean Carra, Cassie Budd, Sarah Budd, Andrew Palmer and Eric Palmer will dearly miss Grandpa, as well as great grandchildren, Alanna, Travis and Kyla Cygan. Bob was also a special uncle to Don and Colleen Wilkinson, Ken and Kathy Wilkinson and Lona and Dave Kerzman. Bob will also be dearly missed by other relatives and friends in the Edmonton region, as well as other areas of BC, Manitoba and Ontario.
Bob was predeceased by his loving wife of 58 years, Norma; daughter, Elizabeth Budd; parents, Andrew and Marjorie Palmer; sisters, Sybil Coxworth and Shirley Wilkinson and nephew, Craig Coxworth.
Bob was born during the Great Depression on December 28, 1930 at a farm in Waskada, Manitoba. His early formative years was hard manual farm work. In 1950, Bob enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and completed basic training at Aylmer, Ontario. Bob was trained in the first armament course after WW2 at Trenton, Ontario. He was then transferred to Rivers, Manitoba where his early career consisted of disarming bombs on Canada’s west coast and during the post-WW2 years. In 1952, as an armament (weapons) technician, Bob was then transferred to North Bay, Ontario to a Sabre Jet Squadron. He was then sent to France during “Operation Leap Frog”. Bob was intercepted on-route at Greenland and re-assigned to the RCAF’s Officers Training School in London, Ontario. He was then assigned to Centralia, Ontario for flight instructor training. This elite program was part of the historic British Commonwealth Air Training. It was here that he met Norma (loving wife and equal partner). Bob and Norma were transferred to Claresholm, Alberta later and where he served as flight instructor on both Harvard and Chipmunk aircrafts. Bob was then transferred to CFB Trenton, Ontario in 1957 as “1 of 10” Class A2 instructors in Canada and where he was also a test pilot for France’s latest Fougeau Magistraire jet fighter. During his military career as a pilot, Bob flew over 10 aircraft and comprising of piston, jets, biplanes, and transport planes.
Over his career, Bob worked his way up through the ranks. He and family (5 now) transferred every 3-4 years and where he served at distinguished postings across Canada. His many assignments included joint NORAD and NATO operations; aviation teaching positions, search & rescue duties; and, overseas military flight instructor. Bob would tell you the highlight of his 33 year military career was being appointed the Commanding Officer of 435 Hercules Squadron from 1973 to 1976 at CFB Namao in Edmonton, Alberta.
Bob was a lifelong curler, golfer, and avid hockey fan and supporter. He was head of minor hockey at CFB Namao, Alberta and President of numerous community organizations, including the St. Albert United Church Men’s Group. Bob also redefined & re-educated himself (after leaving the military) to become the Broker of Record for the first Royal LePage Real Estate office in Trenton, Ontario and where he served for 15 years. At the age of 82 years old, and while retired in St. Albert, Alberta, Bob taught a Grade 6 Edmonton Public School aviation class each week at the Aviation Museum. This was Bob’s “final aviation posting” that he enjoyed very much!
Bob’s mottos were “Pay It Forward” and “Lend a Helping Hand” to those less fortunate. He was very proud to be a Canadian patriot and represented those values every minute during military public service and private citizen years. He will be remembered as a kind, loving, gentle and caring man too.
As a result of current travel restrictions, a brief interment service will be held on June 30, 2020. A Private family gathering will be held (and at a later date) to also remember & celebrate Bob’s life journey.
Memorial Donations may be made in Robert William Palmer’s name to any local Humane Society.
Finally, Bob’s family wishes to send a special thank-you to all the staff (his extended family) at the Kipness Veterans Seniors Home in Edmonton, Alberta and for their unwavering, ongoing support, care and compassion for the final years of Bob’s memorable life journey.