John Wallace (Wally) Palm, 86

On Friday morning, Feb. 4, 2022, Wally passed away at his home in Sheridan, WY with his wife and sole care­giver Louise by his side. He had endured the decline of Parkinson’s for the past eight years.

Wally was born to Fred­erick Nelson and Johnnie (Hazle) Palm on Dec. 16, 1935 at Stamford, TX and soon re­turned to the family ranch ten miles southeast of Al­bany, TX. He was welcomed by grandmother Valina, aunt Corinne and brother Fred. He grew up on the ranch do­ing the usual chores, hearing the many stories his grand­mother related of frontier life, swimming in Hubbard Creek where one had to avoid the cottonmouths, and in Albany where his parents also had a house. He attended school in Albany where his mother was a teacher for several years and joined his parents in attend­ing Matthews Memorial Pres­byterian Church.

Wally knew from an early age that he would become a rancher. As a teenager he was active in FFA and was named Lone Star Farmer of Texas, re­ceiving his award in Houston and a letter from then Sena­tor Lyndon Baines Johnson. Always an industrious person he held part-time jobs where­by he saved enough to buy his first car. His father told him the car would nickel him to death but Wally maintained his dad was wrong as the car actually dollared him. The pranks of Wally and boyhood friend Bill Booker are legend­ary as are the stories of living next door to Travis Sears.

His parents purchased and moved to a ranch in Colo­rado in 1950 however Wally remained in Albany where he continued to work at the family ranch and attend high school, graduating in 1954. He then attended Colorado A & M, which became CSU dur­ing his time there, and joined AGR where he lived in the Chapter House, establishing great friendships and many fond memories. In 1958 he re­ceived his Bachelor of Science degree in animal production that was awarded by spe­cial guest Eleanor Roosevelt whose grandson was also a student at CSU. Upon gradu­ation he and fraternity broth­er Martin Lodge traveled to Florida and in a call back home learned his draft papers had arrived. He returned to Colorado, was inducted into the Army, went through Ba­sic at Fort Hood (where Elvis Presley had just finished his training and gifted the bar­racks with a floor polishing machine) and was stationed at Fort Bliss for the remain­der of his term. So much for traveling the world. During his time he became very inter­ested in the stock market and spent a good deal of time in the Base library doing market research.

Following his release from the Army he returned to Col­orado and joined his father in the ranching business. In 1960 Wally and his father drove up to Miles City, MT to buy cattle. It was there they met Weldon Birdwell who showed them the old Fulton Ranch that had just come back on the market. They literally fell in love with the ranch located south of Ismay and made arrangements for its purchase. Wally ‘batched’ at the ranch until his par­ents sold and closed out the Colorado ranch and moved to Montana. Shortly thereafter his mother was hospitalized in Baker and was introduced to a young lady by their doc­tor. When Wally visited his mother she introduced them and the attraction was mu­tual. After several months of courtship they married on Nov. 9, 1963 at the Presby­terian Church in Miles City. They observed 58 years of marriage this past November. Wally and Louise renovated a house two miles east of the ranch headquarters and lived there until 1979. At that time Wally’s parents had moved in to Baker so Wally and Louise renovated another house and moved to the headquarters where they lived for the next twenty-three years.

During their years at the ranch Wally applied his ranch background, education, ex­emplary skills, thrift, and business acumen toward be­ing a successful rancher and landowner. His memories of working with Harold Jenrich, Lee Curry and Junior Col­lie were often recalled. Wally purchased a Cessna 172 and after obtaining his Pilot’s Li­cense used the plane to check pastures and cattle along with having many memorable flights during 27 years of own­ership. He built a Ham Radio and studied diligently to ob­tain a Ham Radio Operators License. Many hours on cold winter evenings were spent in contact with other Ham Op­erators both nationally and internationally. Acupuncture was first heard of when lis­tening to Radio Peking being broadcast in English. Wally claimed he enjoyed traveling as long as he could sleep in his own bed at night. Even so, they managed to enjoy half a dozen cruises, a couple trips to Europe, several to Mexico, attend NCA conventions, In­vestment Conferences, and meetings of Montana Live­stock Ag Credit. Wally served on the Board of MLACI for nearly 20 years and as Chair­man 1996-1997. Wally thor­oughly enjoyed the friendship and fellowship of the staff, di­rectors and members. He was a member of the Billings Pe­troleum Club, former member of the Pilot’s Club in Baker, AOPA, Montana Stockgrow­ers Assn. and a former Fallon County Republican County Chairman.

In 2002 the ranch at Ismay was sold and they retired to Sheridan, WY where a new house was built on property they had purchased in 1994. Wally devoted the next sev­eral years to managing the in­vestment portfolio, planting numerous trees and installing an extensive underground ir­rigation system. They joined Sheridan’s First Presbyterian Church where Wally served as an Elder. After purchas­ing a condo in Billings they opted to become members of the nearby First Presbyterian Church, however, the house in Sheridan has always re­mained their primary home.

Wally is survived by his wife Louise of Sheridan and Bill­ings, cousins Peggy (Dr. Rich­ard) Reed of New Orleans, Thomas Lee (Susie) Stalcup of Brownwood, TX and broth­er in-law Kenneth (Roberta) Smith.

Wally was preceded in death by his parents and brother Fred. Also by a brother James Conrad who died in 1934.

Wally shall return to Albany for burial in the family plot in Albany Cemetery. Graveside Services by Matthews Memo­rial Presbyterian Church are pending.

Online condolences may be written at www.kanefuneral.com.

Kane Funeral Home has been entrusted with local ar­rangements.

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