Helma Jean (“Jean”) Palmer


Mrs. Helma Jean (“Jean”) Palmer, 88, of Galesburg, Illinois, passed away Friday, January 19, 2024, at OSF St. Mary Medical Center.

She was born April 8, 1935, in Kewanee, Illinois, the daughter of Roger and Lenora (Vandemore) Ingelson. Special gratitude to her maternal grandparents, Philip and Florence Vandemore, who helped raise her. She married Marvin L. Palmer on May 3, 1958, in Galesburg. He preceded her in death on April 5, 2016, after 58 years of marriage.

Jean is survived by her children John (Susan) Palmer of Gilson, Illinois, Robert (Vicki) Palmer of Galesburg, Sharon (David) Mullin of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and James (Marcy) Palmer of Old Monroe, Missouri; a half-sister, Deanna Ingelson Elliott of Oregon; 10 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, grandparents, stepmother Barbara Ingelson, stepfather Rea Benson, and half-sister Cindy Ingelson Madden.

Jean graduated valedictorian from Cambridge High School in 1953. She was also Junior/Senior prom queen. Jean received her nursing degree from St. Francis Hospital Nursing School in Kewanee and worked as a registered nurse at the former Galesburg Research Hospital. Jean left nursing when she married Marvin, an officer in the U.S. Air Force. His service took them to many places, including North Dakota, Alabama, South Carolina, and the Philippines. Upon his discharge, they returned to Galesburg to raise their family. She resumed nursing at OSF St. Mary Medical Center in Galesburg and OSF St. Francis in Peoria. Following her nursing career, Jean and her daughter-in-law owned and operated Timeless Treasures, a craft store in downtown Galesburg.

In retirement, Jean and Marvin enjoyed camping in their RV and traveling throughout the United States. They visited forty-nine states including Alaska. For more than 10 years, they discovered the joys of snow-birding as they wintered in Arizona and Texas. She enjoyed her pets, playing cards and bingo, watching movies, and reading mystery novels.

At Jean’s request, cremation will be accorded. Visitation will be from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Hinchliff-Pearson-West Funeral Directors and Cremation Service Galesburg Chapel. A graveside service will follow the visitation at Oak Lawn Memorial Gardens, Galesburg. Memorials may be made to the Knox County Humane Society. Online condolences may be made at www.h-p-w.com.

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