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Ralph Leroy Palmer, age 89, of Gowen, passed away Wednesday, October 29, 2014 in the emergency room at Spectrum Health-United Hospital in Greenville. Born on May 3, 1925 in Grand Rapids, Ralph was raised in Newaygo County on a farm along the Muskegon River.

In 1938 his family moved to Fremont so that Ralph could attend high school, however, his education was cut short so that he could serve in World War II. A proud U.S. Army veteran, he served as a mechanic and motor pool sergeant with the 124th General Hospital, following his unit from England to France and eventually Austria and Germany where Ralph served as part of the Army of Occupation.

On May 1, 1982, in Greenville, he married the former Irene (Lumbert) Jensen and together they enjoyed over 32 years of marriage. Ralph retired from Ore-Ida Foods in 1987 where he worked in maintenance and was a skilled welder. Throughout his life, he enjoyed camping, fishing, and building homes, but his real love was restoring antique Ford automobiles and his dogs.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Gladys (Dorman) Palmer in 1973; and by his father, Francis Palmer in 1975. Surviving are his loving wife, Irene Palmer of Gowen; his two sons, Alan & Betty Palmer, and Robin & Ethel Palmer, all of Cedar Springs; a step-son, Jeff & Reina Jensen of Greenville; one granddaughter and many step-grandchildren; two sisters, Virginia Holsted of Greenville, and Goldie Gooden of Marion; two brothers-in-law, Jerry Lumbert & Jeri Lou Walcutt of Edmore and Mike & Judy Lumbert of Fenwick; four nieces; and several great nieces and great nephews.

Visitation is from 3-5 p.m. on Sunday at Christiansen Cremation & Funeral Care, 511 S. Franklin Street, Greenville, where funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday. The Rev. Dale Murray will officiate and burial, with military honors, will follow at West Montcalm Cemetery.

Instead of flowers, Ralph would have appreciated memorial contributions to the School of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University or to the charity of ones’ choice. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home. To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Ralph’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:


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1 Condolence

  1. Anonymous on October 29, 2014 at 12:00 am


    11/02/2014 –


    Thanks for your servicde to our country. RIP.

    11/01/2014 –

    LaVona Johnston

    Our sympathies, Irene. You will be in our thoughts….may you be comforted with good memories.

    10/31/2014 –

    Charles & Janice Hanna


    We really enjoyed Ralph and all the stories he told of himself and his life. He was a very intelligent person and quite creative.

    God Bless you in your time of loss of a good person. What a smile!

    10/31/2014 –

    Amy (Taylor) Penner

    Dear Hally and family…my sincere condolences to everyone in this great loss. May you find peace among the tears.

    10/30/2014 –

    Kay Young

    Sorry for your loss.

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