Murray 'Murph' Palmer

Murray "Murph" Palmer

May 4, 1937 - May 28, 2011
Murray J. Palmer of Kinnear died at the Help for Health Hospice home in Riverton Saturday night, May 28, 2011, at the age of 74. He had battled cancer since October of 2010.

Memorial services are at 11 a.m. on Monday, June 6, at the Davis Funeral Home of Riverton with Echo Klaproth officiating with military honors. Cremation has taken place.

Murray James Palmer was born in Helena, Mont., on May 4, 1937. He spent some of his childhood in Palisade, Minn., and Casper but his family said he considered his family ranch, The TE Ranch north of Hanna, as his childhood home. He was graduated from Hanna High School with the Class of 1955.

The family said he enjoyed the solitude of sheep herding in his teenage years and also joined several other ranches for the spring cattle roundups on the Wyoming Red Desert.

He served with the U.S. Army from 1960-62, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Bragg, N.C., attending survey school and eventually sighting in heavy artillery. His time with the Army was extended during the Berlin Blockade crisis.

After discharge, Mr. Palmer worked winters in Arizona and summers in Montana on the Elkhorn dude ranches. There he met and married Deb "Ralphie" Usher of Winchester, Mass., at Lone Mountain Chapel in the Gallatin Gateway Canyon, Mont., on July 8, 1962.

Mr. Palmer's career was as a trucker, owner/operator, loading and hauling logs for many of those years. He lived and raised his young family in a timber camp on Spruce Mountain in southern Wyoming in the 1960s. He later hauled crude oil, soda ash, sulfur, gravel, and asphalt until his retirement in 2003. Work took him to several states -- Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Montana, and California, but his family said he always returned to his home state of Wyoming, living many years in Encampment and Star Valley. Early in his career he had hauled cross-country for Mayflower and other companies but the family said he preferred trucking locally. He had been a resident of Kinnear/Riverton since 1982.

He team roped and did some saddle bronc and bareback riding in his youth. His family said he enjoyed doing anything in the open space and high plains of Wyoming. His hobbies included playing the mandolin, fiddle, concertina, and mountain dulcimer before his fingers railed him, doing leather work and making jewelry from Sweetwater agates, piloting his plane, a Piper Super Cub, for several years, hunting, fishing, gold prospecting, camping, ice fishing, motorcycling, snowmobiling, sailing, boating, and storytelling. He built and flew several remote controlled planes.

Mr. Palmer was a member of the Wyoming Prospectors' Association, and a past member of the National Rifle Association, Wyoming Modelers Association, and Wyoming Wool Growers Association. He had been a member of the Montana Amateur Rodeo Association and his family said he enjoyed maintaining a connection by attending cowboy reunions in Montana.

Survivors include his wife Deborah "Deb" Sprague Usher Palmer of Kinnear; daughter, Leslie Ann Palmer Fleury and husband Duane of Ripton, Vermont; step-mother, Eva M. Nelson Palmer of Casper; brothers, Robert L. Palmer of Mills, Larry A. Palmer and wife Ellen of Englewood, Colo., and Gary Tyren of Aitken, Minn.; granddaughter, Tonia D. McCormick; great granddaughters, Angel Alexandrya Drake and Serena Murray Drake, all of Norfolk, Virginia; sister-in-law, Leslie Usher Anderson of Bowdoinham, Maine, and children John Anderson of Vermont and Laura Anderson of Hawaii; many other cousins, nieces, nephews, and extended family.

He was preceded in death by a son, James Robert Palmer in 1989; his father, Murray Bird Palmer; mother, Violet Corrine Ellis Palmer Beam; brother, Thomas Wayne Palmer; brothers-in-law, David C. Anderson and W. David Usher.

Memorials may be made to the Help for Health Hospice Home or Amedysis Hospice in care of the Davis Funeral Home, 2203 W. Main Street, Riverton, WY 82501.

On-line obituaries are available and condolences for the family may be made at: TheDavisFuneralHome.com

Services are under the direction of Davis Funeral Home.