Palmer Gene Garsjo, 59, joined his mother in heaven on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, passing peacefully with his always caring niece, Jodi, at this side at the Valley View Nursing Home in Glasgow.
Funeral services are scheduled for Friday, Dec. 13, at 11 a.m., at the First Lutheran Church in Glasgow, followed by interment in the Nashua Cemetery in Nashua.
He was born June 15, 1954, to Hartvik and Agnes (Buen) Garsjo, in Glasgow, Mont. He grew up on the family farm north of Nashua with his parents, his five sisters and two brothers.
He was intrigued with mechanics of farm equipment. He studied farming magazines and then would quietly fix farm equipment when his dad wasn't looking! He also liked to help, whether giving pills to a sick calf or instinctively sorting out a mother cow from the herd right before she calved.
Living on the farm had opportunities not available in town – driving the pickup or truck and having a blast no matter how cold outside, driving the snowmobile at full throttle. He never had an accident but Richard saw the snowmobile fly over a hump in the yard, Palmer said, "WOW!"
He graduated from Nashua High School in 1978 with his sister, Lisa. To work at the Glasgow Milk River Activity Center, he initially stayed with Dennis and Sue and took up lawn mowing around Glasgow. Then he lived with his cousin, Sandra (Garsjo) Goff's family, and then moved to his own apartment in the Transitional Living Center (TLC) where he lived until his leg bones broke, and finally at Valley View.
He loved to sing. Although he was off key, his pure joy of singing and pretending to hold a microphone made for many happy times. He had his own mike when joining the singers at the Assembly of God services across the street from his home. At one point, Kenny Rogers was his unquestionable favorite singer. He wore a Kenny Rogers' T-shirt and many buttons of the star. Another highlight was a trip to Disneyland. He enjoyed living life to the fullest and he was liked and admired by his family and community. He wouldn't miss the annual Northeast Montana Fair and Rodeo.
At Christmas, he would surprise his nieces, nephews and friends with a visit from Santa. He also played hide and seek, but he would find the kids even when they thought they were really hidden. To entertain his nephews, he would shoot Nerf darts at them. One nephew said to another nephew, "He's a pretty cool uncle."
Staying fit and trim was a constant. He learned to shoot hoops in the barn, later on the outdoor courts in Glasgow. He played on the Special Olympic teams. He would shoot free throws during half-time at the Scotties' games, was an avid Scotties' fan, honored by the Scotties on special occasions and when Bob Farrell presented him with a Scotties' letterman jacket, Palmer wore it proudly, nearly continually and now, forever.
Besides attending many Olympic State meets around Montana, in the 1990s, he traveled to North Carolina with his hoopsters' team, placing fourth in the World Games. The Governor of Montana came to Glasgow to present them their trophies. Speaking of the Governor, Palmer could have been a politician when you consider these attributes – extending his hand first to meet or greet others, waving, saying hello and how are you, smiling, making you feel comfortable in his presence, making an appearance at private parties and then making sure his photo ended up in the local papers.
His co-workers, job coaches and apartment mates at TLC found him to be the glue, the cheerful, even-tempered guy in the complex. At his work site for 35 years under the top-notch care of the Milk River Activity Center staff, he demonstrated his independence and started his paper shredding business, Secure Shreds, walking to business customers to shred their documents. You could find Palmer out delivering the Good Evening Glasgow and The Buzz daily.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Agnes Garsjo; and nephews, Mark and Brad Garsjo, and Jeremy Doyon.
Survivors include his father, Hartvik; two brothers, Richard and Dennis; and five sisters, Ardis, Connie, Cathy, Lisa and Karla; three uncles; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. We are sad but also know we must celebrate and honor his unique life and his contributions to our community. Palmer's entire family is grateful for the love and care and respect he received from everyone.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you consider making a contribution to the Milk River Building Fund, in memory of Palmer, at 219 2nd Ave. S, Glasgow, MT 59230. When missing Palmer in his familiar places, remember Palmer's unique walk of determination and favorite sayings: "It's Okay," I'm fine," and "See you tomorrow."
Bell Mortuary of Glasgow is in charge of arrangements.