Jessie passed away peacefully on August 1, 2018 at the Lacombe Hospital two months after her 100th birthday. She maintained her sense of humour and bright wit until the end.
Jessie started life in Saskatoon Saskatchewan, the daughter of Anton and Nellie Koepke. Her mother died before Jessie’s second birthday and the six children went to various homes. Jessie was cared for, then adopted, by Charles and Maud Bell.
Jessie was very bright and excelled at school. She was offered a scholarship to attend University but, because of the times, chose to take Business Education at the Technical College. After college she worked for Electric Equipment (now EECOL) eventually becoming the Office and Credit Manager in Saskatoon and then in Edmonton. She also worked for several years as a legal secretary in Fort St. John BC when her husband, Percy Palmer (who she had married in 1942), took a position there.
In 1962, with three children at home, Jessie became a Business Education teacher at Alberta College in Edmonton. She went to the University of Alberta night classes to get her Registered Industrial Accounting degree. She retired in 1983 and moved with Percy to their property at Brownlow’s Landing, Gull Lake.
She was an avid swimmer in her retirement and frequently swam a kilometre at the pool at what is now Burman University. She was such a regular they would call her if there were problems with the pool. They gave her a life membership when she turned 90 but she had to quit when she started having trouble getting in and out of the pool. She also enjoyed snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, garage sales and birding
Jessie had looked for her birth family for years and found the three brothers she knew about when she was in her 50's but she didn't know until then that she had sisters. An older sister and her father had died before they could be reunited. Her younger sister had been adopted from Family Services and wasn’t found until Jessie was in her 70's.
Jessie was very independent and maintained an apartment at Parkland Manor until she moved into Lacombe Lodge just weeks before she became ill. She spent her last months in the Lacombe Hospital. She was the heart of our family and will be greatly missed by her daughters Patricia Allin (Robert) and Marilyn Machuk (Robert), daughter-in-law Suzanne, granddaughters Michelle Allin (Jason Stevens), Lisa Pereira (Elton) and Patricia Versluis, grandsons Nathan Campbell (Sara) and Richard Hutchinson (Byul), and her 11 great-grandchildren. Her husband Percy and her son Robert predeceased her.
We wish to thank the staff at the Lacombe hospital and her excellent care workers at both the Manor and the Lodge. A special thanks to Nikki Wallace and Helen Johnson for their kindness.
A memorial will be held on September 29, from 2pm to 4pm at the Kozy Korner, 5024 53 Street, Lacombe AB. In lieu of flowers a donation to Ellis Bird Farm or the Medicine River Wildlife Centre would be appreciated.