David John Palmquist, 72, of Shoreview and formerly Winona, MN, peacefully took wing from this life on October 15, 2023, surrounded with love after his brave fight with cancer. Dave was born on September 14,1951, in Minneapolis to Vernon and Myrtle (Olson) Palmquist.
He was a 1969 graduate of Edison High School in Minneapolis and a 1974 graduate of the U of MN with a self-designed major in Natural History and Education. Dave married his college sweetheart, Kathleen M. Miles in 1975, and together they moved to the blufflands where they grew to love their beauty and community deeply.
For 38 years, Dave worked as the Interpretive Naturalist at Whitewater State Park, sharing his enthusiasm for the natural world with thousands of park visitors, school groups, family and friends. He especially loved the unique wonders of the driftless region and thrived leading programs on fossil hunting, maple syruping, snowshoeing, snakes, the natural and human history of the Whitewater River Valley and countless others. His storied and exciting presentations fascinated children, who left instilled with curiosity and awe for the environment and the budding will to protect it.
Dave’s love of wild places and their protection soared beyond his career with the DNR to additionally include: preservation efforts for the firetower near Elba, MN and the Marnach Pioneer Home, a role as president of the Hiawatha Valley Audubon Society, establishing the Prairie Island Nature Trail, volunteering with MN Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy, participating in prairie burns and the honoring of Dave Palmquist Day at the Winona County Fair. For 35 years, his voice flew over the airwaves during his phenology program “Talk About Nature” on KNXR Radio in Rochester, MN, and he penned a newspaper column in the Winona Daily News titled “Nature Notebook.”
His passion and love extended to all creatures, and Dave volunteered countless hours helping safely relocate wildlife, including many threatened Timber Rattlesnakes. In 2006, on the banks of the Missouri River in Chamberlain, SD, he discovered the most complete-to-date fossilized skeleton of a Cretaceous Period fish, the Stratodus apicalis. He contacted the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, who sent a team to excavate it. The fish is currently on display in the James Martin Paleontology Research Lab in Rapid City, SD.
Dave was a 40-year member and a hospitality minister for St. Mary’s Parish.
Of all his treasured, wondrous and wild creatures, Dave loved his family most. He and Kathy raised amazing sons, who married remarkable women, and are blessed with 3 adored grandchildren.
Dave was preceded in death by his parents; father-in-law, William Miles; mother-in-law, Mary (Van Braak) Miles; step-father-in-law, Harold Keller; and brother-in-law, Randall Hildreth.
He is remembered by his beloved wife of 48 years, Kathy/Kate (Miles) Palmquist; his two sons, Joseph (Shalee Dunaski) Palmquist of Circle Pines, MN, and Benjamin (Lindsey Frey) Palmquist of Bloomington, MN; his grandchildren, Winona, Miles and Felix Palmquist; his sister, Joan Palmquist; and brothers- and sisters-in-law, Bill and Sally Miles, Tim and Sue Miles, Louise Miles and Tom Heinz, Anne and Wally Everett, Pat and Monica Miles, Margaret Miles and Cathy ten Broeke, and cherished nieces, nephews and cousins.
Memorial service 2:00 PM Saturday, November 11 at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, 9185 Lexington Ave NE, Circle Pines. Visitation 4-7 PM Friday, November 10 at Mueller-Bies Funeral Home-Lino Lakes, 7050 Lake Dr. (County Hwy 23) and from 1-2 PM Saturday at the church. Private family interment at a different time.