Saturday, June 02, 2007


Our last living Gramma, Palma Hoover, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday, May 30th. She was 97 years old. Palma did a lion's share of raising Monica when she was a little girl in Washington State.

She was born Palma Solvang in Norway, on the family farm, one of 11 children and the last born in Norway before the family emigrated to the US; she was still very young when they came over. She was the last surviving member of her Norse family. Her father moved the family to a 480 acre homestead he had proved in the Tolt river valley, near what is now the town of Carnation, (Palma's dad and his brothers had gone to Alaska during the gold rush and did quite well: Working in those conditions was not such a long stretch for farm boys from northern Norway...) She remembered with great clarity walking miles to the eastern shore of lake Washington, where they would catch a ferry, and then on the far side, a trolley to the city of Seattle.

She was educated through the Washington State schools system and received her teaching credentials in 1930. Shortly thereafter, she married Joe Hoover of Centralia Washington. They moved around the state for a few years, and Palma taught in one-room school houses. In 1933, they moved to Centralia, where Joe joined the Police force and Palma resumed teaching. Joe passed away in 1992 having spent several decades on the P.D.

Palma lived in the same house until she went into hospice care a few weeks ago. She always had an amazing garden, full of vegetables and flowers. Her large yard is planted with apples, plums, and grapes that she and Joe made wine from. She could tell you where each tree came from and when it was planted; some of the apples had been transplanted from the family's homestead and were still thriving.

I loved talking with Palma whenever we got together. While her hearing deteriorated, her mind certainly did not. She remembered pretty much everything from her life vividly and was happy to discuss them with someone who was genuinely interested. There is much more I wish I could have asked her.

Palma was tough, loving, smart, and just a wonderful woman. We will miss her greatly. We're glad she went peacefully after a long, full life. May she live now in that land of peace where this no pain and only joy.