Harvey “Leon” Palmer, age 78, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving and adoring family, at his home, in Taylor on Feb. 8, 2018. He was born on March 27, 1939, at his Grandad and Grandma Hancock’s home, just two blocks from his present home in Taylor, to his parents, Harvey and Vera Hancock Palmer.
A visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11, at Owens Livingston Mortuary, located at 84 E. 19 S. in Snowflake. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 12, at the Centennial Chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located at 880 N. Centennial Blvd., in Taylor, with an additional viewing one hour prior. Burial will follow at the Reed Hatch Memorial Cemetery in Taylor.
Leon had a childhood that every boy dreams of. Because of his father’s employment the family moved a lot living in Taylor, Winslow, Gallup, Los Alamos, Williams and San Diego. The highlight of his young life was spending summers with cousins and extended family in sheep camps and cattle ranches, riding horses, having burro races and learning how to work. So many lasting memories were made.
He started school in Taylor and finished in Snowflake, graduating from Snowflake Union High School as senior class president in 1957. He then attended Eastern Arizona College. On March 20, 1959, Leon married Gloria Ann Solomon, in the Mesa Arizona Temple. She was the love of his life and they enjoyed almost 59 years together. To their union was added two daughters, three sons, 26 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren.
Leon was a hardworking man. He was always the first one to work and the last one to leave. He started working right out of high school for his Uncle Belton Palmer at his accounting office in Show Low. That was the beginning of many years of being a bookkeeper and working with numbers and finances. He worked in banking for 26 years. He was instrumental in opening the first bank on the Navajo Nation as he lived and worked in Window Rock for two years. He was the finance manager for Hall Ford in Holbrook and Reidhead Sand & Rock in Taylor.
At one point he decided that he wanted to get out from behind a desk so he went into a partnership as co-owner with his good friend Stewart Lewis in a pig farm north of Snowflake. He really enjoyed that, working alongside his sons and teaching them the work ethic that he lived by his entire life. Some of the many things he accomplished during his seven years as Taylor Town Manager was obtaining the nearly 6,000 seat bleachers for the Taylor Rodeo Grounds and bringing new businesses into town. Many of his co-workers and fellow employees have expressed that he was the best boss they ever had!
During income tax season, he figured taxes for hundreds of people, many for widows and those serving missions, without charge. That was always a busy time of year! For over 40 years, he served on the Taylor rodeo committee and took entries for the rodeo events and stayed till the wee hours of the morning after the rodeos to make sure the contestants all got their paychecks. He also served for several years as a board member and president of the board of directors at Northland Pioneer College.
Leon gave acts of service, probably daily, mostly anonymously, to his family, friends and neighbors. His favorite hobby was to work! He was quite a homebody and didn’t care if he ever left his zip code. True enjoyment and relaxation to him was taking care of the livestock, irrigating, and farming. He loved spending time with the family attending their ballgames, rodeos, camping, barbeques, family dinners and just being around his large family. He also enjoyed team roping with his dad, sons and grandsons, raising and running racehorses. He loved cutting wood with family, camping, hunting, and fishing, water skiing. In his younger years he was quite an athlete, playing basketball and baseball.
He has been a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where he served in many positions. He especially enjoyed serving in the Snowflake Temple. He was a very quiet and gentle man that will be deeply missed.
He is survived by his loving wife and eternal companion, Gloria; children, Sherri (Scott) Burt, Leiann (Randall) Fish, Rusty (Kelly) Palmer, Shawn (Dicie) Palmer and Brad (April) Palmer; grandchildren and great-grandchildren; sisters, Deanne (Dale) Smith and Elaine (Duane) Hensley; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Harvey and Vera Palmer; sister, Florence Evelyn; grandson, Willard Russell Palmer; and in-laws, Bert and Gertrude Solomon.
Owens Livingston Mortuary-Heritage Chapel in Snowflake handled the arrangements.