Ron Palmer, Life Member of the IHCA and former Executive Director passes away

Ron Palmer

Paul Ronald Palmer, age 83, of Tucson, AZ, passed away on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 with his two daughters and one of his closest friends by his side. He has now joined his wife and lifelong love, Shirley.

Ron was born August 2, 1938 in Clinton, Iowa. He lived with his parents and older brother Allan in Savannah, Illinois, and worked at his father’s paint store until he attended college at University of Iowa. He actively served in the Army from 1959 to 1963 and was honorably discharged in 1967. He and Shirley married on September 1, 1962, and they lived together fully, starting with a honeymoon on a river, then spent their lives skiing, backpacking, rock climbing, hiking and sailing. Ron worked for Benjamin Moore Paints, managing the western sales division. He and Shirley moved to Greeley, Colorado and then to Orange, California, where they lived and had their two daughters, Karen and Kristen. Ron left Benjamin Moore and briefly sold highway marking paint to the Alabama and federal governments in Bay Minette, Alabama, then relocated his family to Tucson where he started his own painting and general contracting company, Palmer Contractors. He and Shirley thoroughly enjoyed the rest of their lives in Tucson in the dream house they built together. He loved to entertain; the Palmer house was a retreat for many friends and family from all over the world.

Ron and Shirley were very involved in the Southern Arizona Rescue Association (SARA), they hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim twice, and hosted many backpacking and rock climbing trips for schools and church youth groups. In his 50s, Ron retired from the contracting business after he and Shirley joined Tucson Hobie Fleet 514 and the Tucson Sailing Club, and eventually worked for the North American Hobie Class Association affording them several trips to support Hobie races around the world. Ron was appointed the Administrator Director of the IHCA in 1993 and later the Executive Director of the IHCA. Ron retired as the IHCA Executive Director in June 2001. Both Ron and Shirley were made life members of the IHCA in 2001.

Ron was passionate about carpentry, building and repairing countless items for his home, family, neighbors, friends; he supported several schools and the community with his craft. His garage and beer fridge were a popular gathering place. Both Ron and Shirley were staples in their neighborhood of 50 years. Ron was well known for his barbecues and cooking with his neighbors, parties, and making weekly “Dad’s Dinners” for his daughters and their families. He maintained lifelong friendships with most everyone he met, including friends from his childhood, Eagle Scouts and college.

He is predeceased by his wife of 48 years, Shirley Gay Palmer (née Koogler) [2011]; his parents, Paul Arthur Palmer [1969] and Gertrude Henrietta Palmer (née Vandenberg) [1976], his brother Dr. Allan Van Palmer [2004], and brother-in-law Dr. James Howard Koogler [2020] and Dr. Paul Robert Koogler [2015]. He is survived by his two daughters Karen Sue Palmer and Kristen Lynn Candito (née Palmer); his grandchildren Marcia Starre and Autumn Lamae DeMoss (Karen), Tyler Anthony and Alexandra Lynn Candito (Kristen); nephews David Brandon Palmer, Paul Allan Palmer, and niece Susan Elizabeth Palmer; as well as eight nieces and nephews from Shirley’s family; and many, many dear friends.

The International Hobie Class Association and the Hobie sailors that have been touched by Ron pass on our most sincere condolences to Ron and Shirley’s family.

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