Thursday, December 10, 2009

Melvin Donald "Don" Palmer

Last Thursday I got a call from Mom that 'medics had taken grampa (Dad's Dad) to the ER and that they'd only say "We're working on him". I spent 10 years as a Paramedic saying those words to familes when the outlook was dire. Mom called back 30 minutes later and told me what I already knew: my grandfather had died.
Grampa was born in Missouri and eventually moved to So Cal with his parents. He started his military career in 1944 and was scheduled to get shipped out to the European theater of WWII but the war endeed before he had to go. He and grandma were High School sweethearts and she traveled by train from So Cal all the way to Pensacola FL so they could marry. My Dad was born in 1945.

In 1948 his unit was recalled for the Korean War where he served as a carrier pilot aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard. He stayed in the Navy after the war and wound up flying everything from single engine to multi engine and even helicopters.
Grampa eventually found his way into photo intelligence and worked at the Pentagon in the Chief Naval Officer's Office. Grampa was there when Gary Powers got shot down over Russia in a U-2 and grampa was on board the USS Essex at the Bay of Pigs.
Needless to say, Grampa had the best stories.
What I treasure most are the things he taught me: Golf and the infinite patience it takes to teach someone how to play, especially a 12 year-old. And words I've lived nearly my entire life by: "If you don't love what you do, you ought not to be doing it"
Thanks for reading, if you still are. I guess I just need to say goodbye and I'm having a hard time doig it.
Goodbye Grampa, I'll miss you..


Luke said...

grateful for your grandpa's service!! sorry for your loss!

if only all of us could get our heads out of our asses and do something about the random ass shit going on in this world...maybe we could live up to the last generation!


Jeff D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff D. said...

Sorry for your loss, Eric. Sounded like he lived a very full life. I agree with Luke, that generation of vets really set the bar high for those of us that followed.

Pedal Circles said...

Sorry to read, Eric. Sounds like he had a good life. Keep the memories flowing.