John "Jack" Palen
On February 5th John Harold Palen, known to most as “Jack”, lost a year long battle with cancer and passed on to his next chapter. Born in 1932, he was the third of four children and the only son of Albert and Rose (Pelchy) Palen. Jack was a lifelong resident of Marcellus and a member of the first class to complete K-12 education in the then newly centralized school district of MCS, where he played trumpet in the school band. Straight from high school he began his work career at Allied Chemical (now Honeywell) in Solvay and retired in 1981 at the age of 49 after 31 years as production foreman in the lime kiln section. After a brief stint of self employment he began a second career as plant supervisor at the Rock Cut Road facility of O.C.C.R.A., which he retired from at the age of 62. Jack was never one to sit idle and after a few brief years of “down time” he returned to school in his late 60’s, obtained his CDL and then spent 16 years driving school bus for Marcellus Central. His affinity for western wear shirts, hats, and boots led to his being affectionately known to most as “the cowboy bus driver”. He finally retired for the third time at the age of 81.
Leisure time activities for Jack included hunting and cheering on SU basketball. But his true passion was Marcellus village history and genealogy. He spent over 30 years researching his family tree, and at the time of his passing had accumulated over 6,000 names in his family tree data base that spans centuries.
He was pre-deceased by his parents and three sisters (Hazel Paul, Marion Long, and Joan Nagen). He is survived by his wife of nearly 66 years Patricia (O’Connell) Palen and his three children and their spouses, who he considered his children as well. They are Paul and Virginia Palen of South Onondaga, Jo-Ann and James Foertch of Waterford CT, and Jay and Therese Palen of Greensboro NC. Also surviving are 7 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces and nephews. A special thank you is acknowledged to his niece, Shirley Miller, who was a great support to him and his family throughout his prolonged illness.
At Jack’s request there will be no calling hours, but a Mass of Christian burial is planned at St Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Marcellus on Saturday, February 10th, at 11:30 to be followed by interment.
In lieu of flowers it is suggested donations be made to Hospice of CNY or Marcellus Ambulance and Volunteer Emergency Services (M.A.V.E.S).