Obituary: Carl Robert Palmer
August 6, 2008
Carl Robert Palmer passed away July 7, 2008 after a long fight with Alzheimer’s in Brady, Texas. He was 81. A memorial sevice in his honor will be held at the Summit
County Elks Lodge at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 9.
He is the last of a great generation of pioneer families on the Blue River and was one of the founders and owned some the first businesses in Silverthorne.
He was born on Brush Creek Ranch north of Dillon in the Blue River Valley to pioneer parents, Archie Roderick Whitehead Palmer and Christina Marie Bach. He grew up at the family ranch, homesteaded by his father.
Palmer attended Slate Creek School which was a one-room school house. To get to school, he and his brothers and sisters rode horseback, two-bobsled in the winter or a buggy in the spring, sometimes at 35-degrees Fahrenheit below zero.
Along with ranching, Carl’s father had a blacksmith shop in the old town of Dillon where he took Carl at a very young age to “the Shop.” Carl talked about standing on a bucket hour after hour turning the handle on the forge. His dad had a contract to sharpen the drill bits that were used when they built Loveland Pass Road over the mountain. Carl said they had to be sharpened and ready the next morning for use on the road, and for drilling and blasting out the rock for the road.
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He started irrigating the home ranch at a very early age, eventually worked at the neighboring Knorr Brothers Ranch, Enyeart place and Moser place. Carl went to Nebraska to work for his Uncle William J. Bach, building small check dams/earth-water dams. It was during that time he met his wife to be, Bessie June Drumright. They were married on December 17, 1949 and of this union three daughters were born, Peggy Lee, Shirley Ann and Susan Elaine.
Carl was a Korean War veteran. When he returned from the Army, Carl and Bessie moved to Loveland, where he became a certified mechanic under the G.l. bill and worked for Marley Motors.
After his father passed away, they moved back to the homestead in Summit County and raised cattle. He was a rancher and businessman and had many side businesses in town. At the time, Dillon Lake and Dam were being built and in
approximately 1963 he moved the family to Silverthorne where he built the house on Ptarmigan Mountain.
He and his brother, Russell, ran a full-service garage in Silverthorne, the town which was created from houses built by Clayton Hill and relocated businesses from the old town of Dillon. He owned and operated the Continental Oil Company bulk plant in Silverthorne and started the Blue Valley Propane Company. They also operated the Frisco Conoco. Carl also contracted the branch post office for Silverthorne out of Dillon as the Clerk in Charge.
Silverthorne could now be on the map. He built the two-story building that housed the post office and upper-level apartment. His brother Russell and he started the Palmer Laundromat that was ran by the families.
He had a huge heart and actively supported young people. He was a 4-H leader, auctioneer, rodeo announcer, instrumental in building the first rodeo and roping arena in Silverthorne, was a team roper and talked with love about his old sorrel roping horse. He drove school bus, was an experienced mechanic, and, as he said it “plowed a lot of snow with my ol’ yellow jeep.”
In addition to his success as an established businessman in the Middle Park area, the Summit County School District recognized his mechanical and landscaping abilities and hired Carl as their bus barn superintendent and general summer maintenance contractor. He not only kept the buses on the road but he also drove on field trips.
He couldn’t ever sit around so he was involved with getting the landscaping in, the blacktop poured, the tennis courts and the swimming pool installed. In the winter Carl would make sure the roads were plowed and in the summer the lawns stayed green.
When he retired from the school district, he moved to the front range near Berthoud, where he worked as a landscaper and worked for Larimer County as a ditch rider. Warmer weather beckoned and he and his long-time friend and soon-to-be wife Berneice “Bunny” moved to Brady, Texas where they bought acreage, were married and raised goats and enjoyed the weather and their children and grandchildren.
Preceding him in death were his parents, two brothers: Isaac, Archie and Russell Palmer; and three sisters: Sarah Palmer, Marie Hunter and Elsie Graham. Carl was the remaining member is his immediate family.
He is survived by his ex-wife Bessie June Burr, and wife and long-time friend Berneice Motz Palmer; three daughters: Peggy Watkins (James J. Watkins) of Ft. Lupton and Comanche, Texas; Shirley Strom-Blanchard (Robert Kimball Blanchard) of Katy, Texas; and Sue Ford (Bruce Ford) of Kersey, Colo.; and grandchildren Toni Watkins Mardis (Jimmy), Teri Watkins, Adrienne Strom, Serena Strom, Sydney Blanchard, Royce Ford, Courtney Ford and great-grandchildren Joshua Mardis and Rachel Mardis. One of his great-grandnephews is Matthew M. Palmer of Grand Lake.