Cover photo for Lawrence Palmer's Obituary
1932 Lawrence 2020

Lawrence Palmer

June 9, 1932 — April 16, 2020

Lawrence “Larry” Palmer, 87, of Crookston, MN, passed away at his home early Thursday morning, April 16, 2020, with members of his family at his side.

Larry was born in Crookston, MN on June 9, 1932, one of four children of the union of Emery and Lenore (Kotschevar) Palmer. He was baptized and confirmed at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, attended Cathedral Schools through all grades and graduated with the Class of 1950. Larry was then employed with the Crookston Parks Department until enlisting in the US Navy on September 19, 1951. After completion of basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Center in Illinois, Larry was assigned to the Naval Station in Norfolk, VA, and specifically in the Sea Plane Base. While home, on leave, he married his high school sweetheart, Joan Mae Brunelle, on May 4, 1954. On May 8 Larry returned to active duty and joined the crew of the USS Hornet as an E3 airman at Norfolk. He would eventually complete two world tours during his enlistment. JoAnn was able to join Larry at the North Island Naval Air Station, San Diego, CA during the final months leading up to his honorable discharge from the Navy on August 29, 1955. They returned to Crookston and over the next several years would proudly welcome children: Nancy, Lynn, Timothy, and Rebecca to their loving home. Larry was employed at various jobs until attending a mason trade school in St. Cloud, MN. He later returned to Crookston and gained entry into the brick layer’s union. After a year-long apprenticeship with Howard Risch, Larry began working for contractors throughout many of the warmer states in the winter and the Crookston area during the summer. Together with Don Schultz he would later form a partnership in Crookston known as Superior Masonry. In the early 1970’s he established his own business, Palmer Masonry, which was purchased by his son, Tim, in 1979. The last years of Larry’s working career were spent as a sales rep for Strata Concrete in Grand Forks, before retiring in 1984. Larry and JoAnn enjoyed traveling and spending winters in Arizona. Summers would find them enjoying their Twin Lakes cabin near Naytahwaush, MN. They sold their cabin in 2013 and settled into a more sedate lifestyle in Crookston. Larry was a lifelong member of the Cathedral Parish, and a former member of the Knight of Columbus. He also held memberships with VFW Post #1902, American Legion Post #20, and Eagles Aerie #873. Larry was an avid hunter and enjoyed bowling in the local men’s league and with JoAnn in the mixed doubles league.  He was passionate about doing yard work and was especially proud of keeping everything immaculate. Sadly, JoAnn passed away on September 29, 2019.

Larry found great joy and pride in donating a large portion of his time to coaching youth hockey in Crookston.  He was also the head coach of the Senior Pirate Hockey Team in the late 70’s early 80’s.

Larry stood strong when it came to his family.  Each family member looked to him for guidance and protection. He made sure everyone he loved knew it and was able to create a special relationship with each of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  To keep in touch with everyone, he quickly and eagerly learned how to use modern technology by using FaceTime and making each and everyone feel special.

Larry touched many lives and will be forever missed by his 4 children and their spouses: Nancy (Jerry) Sykes of Crookston, Lynn (Ricky) Oakes of Crookston, Timothy (Kristie) Palmer of Crookston and Rebecca (Larry) Lowe of Boonville, IN; 9 grandchildren: Leah (Kevin Crocker) Oakes, Aaron (Jennifer) Sykes, Mandy (Justin) Bernardy, Samantha Lowe, Sarah (Scott) Ruark, Kelsey (Zack) Johnson, Mykl Palmer, Jacob Lowe, and Kathryn Lowe; granddaughter-in-law, Melanie Oakes; 19 great-grandchildren; 3 sisters: Doris (Bill) Janssen of Crookston, Joni (Sherm) Tollefson of Glendale, AZ, and Bonny (Larry) Landwehr of Sartell, MN; sister-in-law, Sally (Charles) Cammack of Dunwoody, GA; and his beloved dog, Katie.

In addition to JoAnn, Larry’s beloved wife of 65 years and best friend for longer than that; he was preceded in death by his oldest grandchild, Chad Michael Oakes; his parents, Emery and Lenore Palmer; parents-in-law, Irvin and Fern Brunelle; and brother-in-law, David Brunelle. Blessed be Larry’s memory.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions the family of Larry Palmer will hold a private Mass of Christian Burial at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception with The Very Rev. Vincent Miller, presiding. A graveside service will be held at the Calvary Cemetery in Crookston at a later date with the Crookston Veterans Council and the US Navy Honors Unit from Minneapolis, providing Military Honors. In lieu of flowers the family asks that you consider a memorial in Larry’s name to the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Rochester, MN, c/o Nancy Sykes, 740 Holly Avenue, Crookston, MN 56716.

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