Ivan George Palmer

January 3, 1931 to July 2, 2019


IVAN GEORGE PALMER – of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador passed away peacefully at home on July 2nd in his 89th year.

Born in Plymouth, England in 1931, Ivan was the son of the late Harley and Olive (Bett) Palmer, and brother of the late John Palmer. He is survived by Ann, his wife of 64 years.

Ivan will be deeply missed by his children: Elizabeth (Luc) of London, England; Matthew (Elda) of Boston; Richard (Manita) of Ottawa; Steven of Windsor, Ontario; and Louise (Stephen) of Greenwich, Connecticut; and grandchildren Zachary, Ava, Chloe, Sophia, Emil, Giorgio, Ghilenn and Beatrice.

Generous, creative, witty and well rounded, Ivan enjoyed the world and all it had to offer. He was a fine writer and discerning reader who delighted in good company and lively conversation.

Ivan was educated at Kirkham Grammar School in Lancashire. He played on the school’s first eleven cricket team and in 1948 became Head Boy.

He graduated  with a BSc in Chemistry from the University of London, and began his career at British Drug  Houses.

He immigrated to Montreal in 1956 where he joined BA-Shawinigan Chemicals (later Gulf Oil Canada) as an industrial research chemist and worked at its Montreal East, Shawinigan and Varennes plants. In the early 1970s he was a senior research and development manager for Johnson & Johnson Canada.

In 1974 Ivan joined the Newfoundland government’s Department of Development where he oversaw projects in the oil and gas sector, the Labrador Sea and Lake Melville Ice Management programmes, and numerous ventures with local development corporations. After retiring as an Assistant Deputy Minister, he worked as a consultant for clients that included the Labrador Inuit Development Corporation and the Music Industry Association of Newfoundland and Labrador.

He was a Fellow of the Canadian Society for Chemistry.

Ivan loved to sing, and lent his rich baritone voice to several St. John’s-based choirs. He was a keen gardener and member of the Horticultural Society, and a dedicated watercolourist who studied and exhibited with Diana Dabinett’s art group “Monday’s Company”.

Cremation has taken place. Funeral service will be held at the Carnell Memorial Chapel, 329 Freshwater Road, at 2:00 pm on Friday, July 19, 2019.  In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to Doctors Without Borders.




2:00pm, Friday July 19th

The Carnell Memorial Chapel
329 Freshwater Road
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Dear Ann and family.
I was sorry to hear of Ivan’s passing. Though I only saw him a few times over the 40 years that I’ve known Matt, I always enjoyed Ivan’s wit and dry sense of humor. He clearly loved his family and was proud of their many accomplishments. I know he will be very much missed. Please accept my deepest condolences..

Dear Ann. Saddened to learn of Ivan’s passing, my heartfelt condolences to you and your family. I met Ivan a couple of times when I visited your home back in the 90’s. During those brief exchanges I remember his pleasantness, the warmth and kindness in his eyes, his helpfulness, his intellect, his profound humbleness; Ivan is/was a memorable person to me indeed. Ann I have often thought of you both over the years – such a lovely couple – your stunningly beautiful garden – I recall your mention of your children – a lovely family. I know that there are no words to ease the pain of the sorrow death brings. I am presently grieving myself as I lost my Mother just a year ago on July 17, 2018; she was my rock, I miss her deeply and guessing I always will. It’s our fond memories of our loved one that will see us through this sadness until we arrive at the juncture where we smile when we think of them and know how truly blessed we were to have had them in our life. Sending thoughts of peace and comfort during this time of adjustment. God Bless. To give context, Ann it was through I.J. Samson that I met you. It would be nice to connect again.

Dear Ann, I am so sorry to hear about your husband, Ivan. What a wonderful life and legacy he leaves. I hope your memories of 64 years together softens some of your grief. Sincerely,

Ivan was an inspiration to me as I sat next to him in Monday’s Company. A true artist has passed, but will be remembered by all as a very special person.
Condolences to all the family.
Martha Anne Woodworth

Dear Ann and Family

I was so sad to hear of Ivan’s passing. I treasured him as my singing partner in the Bass section of the St. John’s Choir. I so enjoyed assisting him with his family research and his great pleasure at discovering part of his past.
I will miss him.

Dear Ann and Palmer family
Very sad to hear about Ivan. My sincere condolences
Ivan hired me to the a Dept of Industrial Development
in 1977 . He was my first real boss.
We shared many happy times including many happy hours.
He was a fine English gentleman

Dearest Ann and Palmer family:
I was so sorry to hear about Ivan. I got to know him when we were both in the St. John’s choir and really appreciated his sense of humour and his bravery as he took on the role of choir president for a term. Later we both took Italian lessons together and that was a lot of fun. We both took singing lessons and Ivan got me to sing a duet with him – a new thing for me and I wouldn’t have done it without his encouragement.
He very kindly phoned or emailed me to let me know about the opening for his art class exhibits, and I am so glad I had the good sense to acquire a painting he had done of part of Rennies Mill trail which I treasure and will treasure even more.
I work in the Provincial Archives and we do have some of his files from when he was an executive of the Department of Development and he was certainly involved in some major undertakings. It is too bad his good sense, and intellect couldn’t be used by the present government.
Ivan made the world a better place, and as others have said he was a Renaissance man.
I am so sorry I am out of the Province but wanted to know I was thinking about you all and of course Ivan. Please take care of each other

Ann and Family
Ivan and I worked together for 5 years in the 1980’s in the Department of Development. I have fond memories of his capabilities and strong work ethic, his very human personal characteristics, and the pleasure of having a pint together.
He wrote a poem, of many verses, entitled “Noted” (of which I was the subject) that captured a certain flavor of those 5 years, and which he delivered with his typical humor and wit, to the boisterous laughter of our gathered colleagues at my send off from the Department party.
A fine gentleman!
Sincere Condolences
Herb Clarke

Dear Steve and Louise
I am sorry to hear about your father’s death. He led a full and wonderful life. Hope you and the family are all ok.
I am sorry that I will miss the memorial service by only a few days.
All best wishes

Dear Ann and family – my heartfelt sympathies to you and all your children. Ivan was always a comical chap whose light-hearted approach to all things gardening often left me laughing while inspiring me to realize the beauty of plants instead of wondering why the damn things did not grow properly in my garden. His generous spirit and incredible intelligence were the mark of a true gentleman through and through. From painting, gardening, singing, and travelling, Ivan was a Renaissance Englishman from a great generation. I will miss him greatly.

Ivan, a loving friend, generous and witty, He will always be in my heart. I send my love to his family. Although I am not near geographically, I am with Ann (his wife), his children and grandchildren in thought, celebrating the memory of Ivan’s beautiful life.

The Family,

Ivan and I worked together in harmony on several projects “way back”- early 80’s… but, I still remember him fondly… his respectfulness, loyalty and conscientiousness, as well as, his keen mind and wit… all in all, a unique gentleman.

Sincerest condolences, Derek Banfield.

Ann and your family,
My sincere condolences to you and your family at this difficult time. I’ve always admired Ivan’s artwork when visiting the shows at the Botanical Gardens.

I heard from my daughter Caroline by e-mail this morning of Ivan’s death; his daughter Louise had notified her. I am very sorry to hear this news although I realize that Ivan had not been well for some time. He was always a delight to meet, with that wonderful twinkle in his eyes and a warm smile, and so courteous and interesting to talk to. It’s amazing to read of his career as I did not know him professionally, but he obviously was a very important contributor to the economy of several Canadian provinces including Newfoundland. How lucky we are that he came here. My deepest sympathy to Ann, Louise and the rest of the family.

I had the good fortune of working for Ivan near the beginning of my career in Newfoundland in the early 1980’s. He was a mentor to me. I had great respect and admiration for him. He was thoughtful and insightful, well read, kind and considerate of others, and always a gentleman. His thought permeated my own to a much greater extent than I believe he was aware.

Well done, Ivan, well done.

I offer my sincere condolences to Ann and his extended family.

Philip Carter
Nanaimo, British Columbia

Ann and Family,
So sorry to learn of Ivan’s passing.. Please accept our deepest sympathy and sincere condolences.
Connie Winter