‘He was always willing to help’
When Mary Jo Palmer looks at her youngest son’s senior picture, pride and sadness fill her face.
“I see a very caring, giving, sharing, help-everybody, give-everybody-a-nickname-that-fits kind of person,” Mary Jo said. “I see somebody game to try new things. I see somebody that’s ready to help anybody who needs it. He does stuff because it’s the right thing to do.”
Dan Palmer, 19, was killed on Thanksgiving morning in a two-vehicle accident on Sunrise Pass Road outside Johnson Lane.
“He was always willing to help you with nothing expected in return,” his father Jerry added.
Mary Jo also described her vibrant, blue-eyed son as a “punk.”
“He could find a button and push it, and push it again, and push it again, and he would have a twinkle in his Irish eyes as he was doing it,” she said with a smile. “It’s been great to be able to have Dan for 19 years.”
Dan was born Nov. 12, 1993, at the old Carson-Tahoe Hospital.
A Johnson Lane native, Dan attended Pinon Hills and Minden elementary schools and Carson Valley Middle School. He was a 2012 Douglas High School graduate.
In 2011, he was recognized for placing fourth in the Ford/AAA student auto skills competition. He also qualified twice to attend a state welding competition in high school.
“If it had a gas cap and firing pin, he was into it,” Jerry said.
Dan received his first motorized transportation in the form of a quad when he was 4 years old. It was a joint Christmas present for himself and older sister Katie.
“The look on his face was like, ‘Yeah,'” Mary Jo said. “Dan put his helmet on and would not take it off.”
Older brother, Travis, recalled a time when Dan was little that he scared his brother to tears.
“I told him wolves were going to come chase him, and eat him up,” Travis said. “That sent him bawling. I was so surprised because he was so unphasable.”
Dan was an avid sportsman, enjoying swimming, karate, soccer, wrestling, football, mountain biking and compound bow shooting.
When he was 8 years old, he competed in an archery competition. According to his father, Dan was so skilled with a bow that the judges moved him back from the target to shoot from the adult position.
“His points were so high that he outshot the factory team, and they’re pros,” Jerry said. “He shot 33 out of 35 bullseyes. He did it without sights. He did it instinctively.”
The Palmers said they take solace in knowing that Dan’s faith was strong. He served in various youth groups at Hilltop Community Church.
“His foundation is strong,” Jerry said. “There’s no doubt in our mind about that.”
“He loved Jesus, and He served the Lord,” Katie said.
Jerry said although his son hadn’t decided on his future plans, he never stopped working.
“Dan is a true example that word-of-mouth advertising works. He would mow lawns, clean goat pens, help you move, take care of your house. By the time he was 5 he could run a backhoe,” Jerry said. “He was so versed in so many things. He did it all. He was like a streak of lightning going through the house from the door, to the shower, and back out the door.”
Dan is survived by his mother, Mary Jo; father, Jerry; brother, Travis; and sister, Katie.
A scholarship has been established in Dan Palmer’s name for high school students interested in automotive or welding.
“They don’t have to be brainiacs, but the kids who like to do stuff with their hands,” Mary Jo said.
The Daniel Palmer Memorial Scholarship is at City National Bank, 1647 Highway 395, Minden, Account No. 366454217.