South Okanagan kayaker remembered as caring and free spirited

Colin Palmer died doing something he loved and is remembered by family as caring and free spirited

Colin Palmer is being remembered as a loving family man and a free spirit who lived life to the fullest.

The 41-year-old Penticton resident died doing something that was his passion, kayaking on Okanagan Lake last month.

His body was recovered July 20.

“Colin grew up around water, the ocean, a lake, a stream,” Jill Harrison recalled about her younger brother. “Water was where he spent most of his time, he lived to be out there. He also loved fishing, snowmobiling, dirt biking, camping anything, he just loved the outdoors.

“He was the father of three and he absolutely loved his kids, he loved all kids. He’s the guy who always had in his pack glow sticks and candies with him no matter where he was, to him it was ‘your kids are my kids.’ He always had something to share with them and make their day.”

READ MORE: Body found on Okanagan Lake confirmed to be missing Penticton kayaker

Harrison and her family moved to Penticton when Palmer was 16 and he later graduated from Penticton Secondary School.

He worked for 16 years as a welder and from there he went on to his “dream job” as a special effects assistant for movies—he had a DVD signed by the cast members of Star Trek—and TV in Vancouver before returning to Penticton.

Colin Palmer with two of his furry friends, Wylie and Indy. Pets, people and the great outdoors were the things he loved most according to family. (Submitted photo)

Growing up together, Harrison laughingly described Palmer, who she loved so much, as a: “pain in the ass brother. A typical brother who was eight years younger and got into all your stuff.”

She quietly added her brother was a friend to almost everyone he met.

“He had a really kind heart. He was kind to everybody, whether it was people on the street he would connect with or other people he met. Anybody he came across, he always tried to be helpful and kind and he absolutely loved animals, cats and dogs,” said Harrison.

But it was his love of adventure and quirky little things that were among her favourite memories this day.

“He didn’t always have his hair green, it just depends on what kind of mode he was in that day,” Harrison said about the photo the police put out that July day he was first reported missing showing him with dyed hair. “He liked excitement. He parachuted out of a plane in Oliver, he’d never done it before but he took a lesson and jumped out of a perfectly good plane. He was always doing the extreme, the thrill of any kind of activity or action.

READ MORE:Missing Penticton kayaker last seen on Okanagan Lake

“He was only 41 but his life was full, he didn’t miss a beat. When we were kids we went on helicopter tours in Hawaii, there wasn’t anything he missed out on doing, he had a life full of joy and excitement.”

She described her brother’s death as “absolute heartbreak” to the family especially now as they struggle to plan the service for a son and brother.

“When you start going through all these great family photos, you kind of forget why you’re picking them out and then you realize we’re not doing this to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary,” said Harrison.

The service for Palmer will be a private one and friends wanting details are asked to contact the family.


 

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