By Krista Waddington Johnston
The Cloverdale Legion has seen its share of crowds, but on Saturday May 7 it was filled to capacity to celebrate the life of longtime employee and Cloverdale fixture Jessie Palmiere. Jessie passed away April 24, 2011 after a brave and valiant fight with cancer.
With daughters Sandra and Tina, companion Larry MacGilliard and grandchildren Demi, Keelan and Brady looking on, Jessie was remembered with love and laughs by her friends, family, customers, and anyone who had the good fortune to know her and her smile.
Jessie was born April 20, 1942 in Ituna, Saskatchewan amidst six sisters and four brothers. Being the adventurous spirit she was, she left home at an early age and lived in Yorkton and Regina before landing in Calgary in 1967 where she met and married Frank Palmiere on Feb. 24, 1969. November of that year their first daughter Sandra was born, followed by Tina in 1973 after their move to Vancouver.
By 1974 the family had moved to Langley, where Jessie helped establish and co-chair the Nicomekl Elementary Parent Teacher Association. As well as raising her girls, Jessie ran the PTA, assisted the local Block Watch, ran the school’s hot lunch program, and worked tirelessly to raise funds for the school’s new gym, kitchen and playground. She also successfully lobbied Langley city hall for funding for the school programs and equipment. Jessie’s can-do attitude was evident even back then: when something needed to be done she simply did it and moved on to the next thing.
Jessie was a superb hostess who took care of every detail when people came to visit. Jessie made sure that everyone had a place to stay, food in their bellies and smiles on their faces. She was remembered as being a fantastic cook, bringing her famous perogies for anyone who requested a special treat. Her loving, thoughtful nature was often expressed with a bag of perogies at the ready for anyone who asked.
Jessie was also an active and athletic lady. She bowled competitively in Langley and Cloverdale, though in 1975 she discovered she had a natural talent for softball. Her teammates from The Knights, Artisan, and Mom’s Kitchen (to name a few) remember her as a wicked third baseman until a car accident sidelined her from the hot corner. In typical “Jessie” fashion she defied the odds, not only walking against her doctor’s prediction, but returning to competitive play as a great pitcher. As expected, she was at the forefront of the fundraising until the team finally found a sponsor in her beloved Cloverdale Legion Branch 6, where she became an irreplaceable member of the legion family for 32 years.
Softball was her sport of choice until she picked up a golf club and discovered yet another athletic passion. In fact, it was golf that brought her another blessing when she met Larry at a golf tournament in Quesnel in 1994. The two shared a passion for life, travelling and golfing throughout their years together. With her children, grandchildren and Larry, Jessie’s life was just as she wanted: complete.
After her cancer diagnosis in October 2008 she continued to work during her treatments, never complaining except to express her annoyance that it kept her from doing all she wanted to do.
She faced her illness with her trademark strength and fortitude, yet her warmth and loving nature were never diminished.
Four days after a very special birthday celebration, Jessie passed away in the early morning of April 24, Easter Sunday.
As mentioned in her eulogy, the day seemed appropriate as an extraordinary lady left us on an extraordinary day. The very best of her remains in Sandra and Tina, both of whom share her kindness, energy and loving spirit.
The Palmiere family would like to express their gratitude to everyone for their help and support. Jessie’s family and friends meant the world to her, and it was clear from the turnout on Saturday that the feeling was mutual.
–The family would like to thank Krista Waddington Johnston for helping Tina and Sandra.