John Paul Palmer

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, April 13, 2022

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John Paul Palmer, 94, of Panama City, Florida, passed away with dignity on April 3, 2022, surrounded by his family and his beloved Little Bella.

Mr. Palmer was born February 18, 1928, in the early hours of the morning, in a shotgun house in the middle of the Palmer Farms near Bainbridge, Georgia. Known as “Paul” by friends and family, he was determined to be with his beloved wife Clara on their upcoming 65th wedding anniversary, which was quickly approaching on April 26, 2022.  Paul had that determination about him.  When he set out to have a mission, he saw it through; and so he did.

He worked on the farm and went to school until he was 17.

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While attending school, he was just 15 when he was sitting on his motorcycle on a hill overlooking the playground at school. Paul spotted the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.  She had long jet-black hair, a beautiful smile, and a giggle to go with it. He told his friend that she was going to be his girl and he was going to marry her, although she was only 13.  Keeping to his mission, on April 26, 1957, they married.  The beautiful girl he had fallen in love with waited from 1943 until 1957 to marry her “Paul”.

At 17, he dropped out of school and his father signed for him to go into the US Navy. He wanted to join earlier because both of his brothers were already serving our country. He entered the Navy on February 18, 1945, and he continued to serve our country with honors until September 30, 1974. He retired at the rank of BMSC. He was a WWII, Korea and a Veteran.

Our family had a true hero. There are so many stories of his military career, but the one that he told the most was the time he spent at Bikini Atoll when the H Bomb was dropped. He was stationed on the USS Cocopa ATF-101 (the most radiated fleet tug in the Navy) 80 miles offshore. He talked about the vibration, the mushroom cloud, the heat, and the glow. He was on several ships and some of his duty stations were Norfolk, VA, Charleston, SC, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and 3 duty tours at the Naval Base in Panama City, FL.

After retiring from the Navy, he began working in the oil fields as Captain of crew and supply boats for twenty years with his son, Dennis by his side. He completely retired in 1994, 3 months short of being on the water for 50 years.

Paul was an avid outdoorsman. It has been said that he held a cane pole as soon as he could walk as a small child. His passion was definitely hunting and fishing with his son, Dennis, and his granddaughter, Kayla.  He was legally blind, but that did not stop him. He could catch the biggest fish or kill the biggest turkey without being considered a blind, old man. He loved turkey and turkey hunting. He bragged often to the FWC family and the Northwest Florida Turkey Federation that he could still out hunt or fish anyone.

Paul loved his family. He always made sure everyone in the family was well taken care of especially in our time of need or when you least expected it. He was the best father, grandfather, and great-grandfather you could ask for. He loved us all equally.

Paul is preceded in death by his wife and soulmate, Clara M. Palmer; his parents, Henry A Palmer and Mary Dollar Palmer; two brothers, Henry A Palmer, Jr (Doris), James Virgil Palmer (Sara Voncile), and one sister, Henrietta Broadaway (Alto).

He is survived by his children, Steve Griffin (Connie), Clarice Lambert, and Dennis Palmer (Jenne).

He was Umpa or Pa to his grandchildren, Stephen Anthony Griffin (Amanda), Adam Scott Griffin (Kate), and Kayla Diane Brant; his great-grandchildren, Morgan Griffin Lively (Reese), Niven Claire Griffin, Logan Griffin, Lillian Griffin; his great-great grandchildren, JoAnna Lively and Scarlett Lively and many nieces and nephews.

Graveside services were held at Black Jack Church Cemetery, 2747 Old Whigham Road, Bainbridge Georgia on Sunday, April 10, 2022, at 2:00pm EST.  His nephew, James Palmer officiated and full Military honors were presented.

Pallbearers were Adam Griffin, Jason Brant, Robbie Meredith, Todd Hornsby, Bucky Higman and Ken Paramore.  Ivey Funeral Home in Bainbridge, Georgia was in charge of Mr. Palmer’s final journey home.