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John Alden Palmer, Jr.

Obituary for John Alden Palmer, Jr.

December 22, 1931 - June 2, 2015
Plaistow, New Hampshire | Age 83


Plaistow, NH: John Alden Palmer, Jr, 83, a lifelong resident of Plaistow, died on June 2, 2015 at his home.

Born in Portland, ME, and raised and educated in Plaistow, son of the late John and Loleta (Moore) Palmer, he attended the Pollard School and graduated from Sanborn Seminary in Kingston with the Class of 1944 where he was a member of the school band and lettered in football, baseball and basketball. Mr. Palmer went on to attend Bates College in Lewiston, ME, where he was a member of the ski team. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve during the Korean Conflict and served for 40 years, retiring with the rank of Chief Petty Officer and Personnel Manager.

Mr. Palmer was the president of John A. Palmer and Son Inc., a general contracting company, established by his late father and located in Plaistow for many years. He also operated Palmer Adforms for a time.

A devoted resident of Plaistow all of his life, Mr. Palmer was a direct descendent of John and Priscilla Alden of the Mayflower and a member of the Alden Kindred Society of America. He was also a direct descendent of James Davis who was one of the founders of Haverhill in the early 1600s. The Davis family later became one of the founding families of Plaistow.

He had a deep interest in genealogy and knowledge of the history of the Town of Plaistow. His deep affection for his hometown prompted his lifelong interest and service to the community. He was a former member of the Plaistow Fire Department; a founding member and past president of the Plaistow Historical Society; a past member, past chairman and past secretary of the Plaistow Planning Board, where his efforts led to the establishment of the town Industrial zone and Plaistow's membership in the Southern Rockingham County Regional Planning District Commission; and co-chair and essayist for the Town of Plaistow 225th Anniversary celebration. He was active in the planning and building of the new Plaistow Library and served on the committee for the Plaistow Safety Complex. He was hired by the town to build the Plaistow Town Garage in 1976 and renovate the former Plaistow Library which now serves as the District Court building at 14 Elm St. He lent his expertise to the Plaistow Town Hall Renovation Committee, as well as many other town improvements, and he supervised the removal and replacement of the time capsule during the 100th Anniversary of Town Hall. In 2003, he was honored when the Town of Plaistow dedicated the annual report in his name.

A lifelong and active member of the First Baptist Church of Plaistow, he was also a member and past secretary and past historian of Gideon Lodge AF & AM, of Kingston, with over 58 years of service, and was a recipient of the Major John Sullivan Medal.

A devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, his family was most important to Mr. Palmer. He always enjoyed the outdoors, skiing, hiking, camping, bird watching and especially his family vacation home he built in Bartlett, NH.

Predeceased in 2005 by his high school sweetheart and devoted wife of 54 years, Ruth E. (Reynolds) Palmer, and his son John A. Palmer III in 2003, he is survived by daughters and sons-in-law, Jayne and Brian McPherson of Topsham, Maine, Janice Palmer of New Britain, Connecticut, and Joanne and Robert Durfee of Laconia, daughter-in-law Susan (Campbell) Palmer of Pepperell, MA, a sister and brother-in-law, Elinor and Alan Kelley of Barrington, six grandchildren, Ian McPherson, Abbie Frank, Andrew McPherson, Paul Durfee, Carolyn Durfee, and Elizabeth Palmer, also five great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Life Celebration to be held on Friday, June 5, 2015 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Brookside Chapel and Funeral Home, 116 Main St., Plaistow, NH. His funeral service will take place on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church, Main St. Plaistow, with burial to follow in Plaistow Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Plaistow Old Home Day Celebration, 145 Main St., Plaistow, NH 03865. To send a message of condolence to the family or to find directions to our home, please visit

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Brookside Chapel & Funeral Home

116 Main Street
Route 121A
Plaistow, NH 03865
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