American Patriotic 10

Michael Dorence Palmer

October 8, 1938 ~ May 29, 2022 (age 83)

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Michael (Mike) Dorence Palmer, man of honor, generous spirit and endless kindness died on Sunday, May 29 in his home with wife, Gail, and daughter, Kerry, at his side. Mike was 83 years old. He was born on October 8, 1938, in Bismarck, North Dakota to Maxwell Dorence Palmer and Marie Helen (Murray) Palmer. Enlisting in the Navy on February 20, 1959, it was the beginning of a life and career of service to the United States. He married his sweetheart, Gail Evelyn Hitchcock on December 26, 1959. 

During Mike’s Navy career, he continued to grow his technical knowledge and leadership skills. He served in the Vietnam War flying reconnaissance missions while he and family were stationed in Japan. Mike wrote technical courses for electronic equipment and provided instruction to other sailors. He was highly decorated and impressively was promoted to rank of E-9, Master Chief Petty Officer in only 12 years.  His last duty station was in Virginia Beach, Virginia as the VF-101 Senior Enlisted Advisor. He retired in 1978 after 20 years of service. 

After retiring from the Navy, the family moved to Fargo, North Dakota where Mike worked with Northwestern Bell Telephone for six years. His next position was at the College of Engineering and Architecture at North Dakota State University as experiment station specialist technician. He was a valued employee for 17 years before retiring in 2001.  

After retirement, Mike loved spending time with his family, taking trips, photography, genealogy, fishing, boating, and golfing. He dedicated his life to his grandkids and family.  Mike would drive thousands of miles across the country with Gail to attend his grandchildren concerts, plays and events. During the COVID pandemic, he would watch every grandchild sporting event and concert as livestreamed on Facebook.   Mike spent many family vacations at Minnesota lakes and far away places making many memories.  When he was not spending time with his family, he volunteered many hours using his technical knowledge helping out at his church in Fargo, Olivet Lutheran, delivering Meals on Wheels and helping others. 

He is preceded in death by his parents, Maxwell Palmer and Marie (Murray) Orr and brother Grover Orr.

Mike is survived by his wife, Gail, and his children, Kimberly Palmer, Karlton (Theresa) Palmer, Katherine Palmer, and Kerry (Joe) Livingston; and siblings Pat Weltikol, Murray (Karen) Orr, Anita (Bill) Jones, Dee (Glen) Singer; his beloved and loving grandchildren, Lauren, Maxwell, Sarah, Matthew, Michael, Gabriel and Grace and his great grandchild Maverick. Mike D. Palmer will be remembered for being a great man, a loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and friend. 

Naval History 

1959 - Enlisted February 20 

1959 - Basic Training at Naval Training Center, San Diego, California 

Graduated AT-A Technical School at NATTC Memphis, Tennessee 

1960 - VP-17 Navy Patrol Squadron on Whidbey Island, Washington 

Advanced electronics and electrical engineering at NATTC Memphis, Tennessee 

1963 – Naval Air Station in Sandford, Florida 

1965 – Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ-1) in Atsugi, Japan 

1969 - Naval Air Maintenance Training Detachment (NAMTRADET) 

1973 – Production Control Chief on USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) Virginia Beach, Virginia 

1976 (7) – Senior Enlisted Advisory Fighter Squadron 101 VF-101 Virginia Beach, Virginia 

1978 – Retired 

Medals and Commendations 

Air Medal – 7 

Navy Achievement Medal 

Navy Presidential Unit Commendation 

Navy Good Conduct Medal – 5 

Vietnam Campaign Medal -  – 7 

In lieu of flowers, donations in Mike's name may be directed to CAER Food Shelf in Elk River.

A Celebration of Michael’s life will be at 1:00pm on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 at Elk River Lutheran Church, 729 Main St NW, Elk River, with visitation starting at Noon. 

A luncheon will follow the service.

Interment will be at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Wednesday, July 13, 2022 at 10:30AM.




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June 14, 2022

12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Elk River Lutheran Church, Elk River

Celebration of Life
June 14, 2022

1:00 PM to 1:45 PM
Elk River Lutheran Church, Elk River

July 13, 2022

10:30 AM
Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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