Former Turlock City Council member Maurice Palmberg, a passionate advocate for the town and a proponent of planned growth, passed away on Sept. 13. Palmberg was 84.
Maurice and his wife Barbara moved to Turlock from Nebraska in 1974. Drawing on his years of experience running his family's auto supply stores in the Midwest, Palmberg purchased Mid-Valley Auto Supply of Turlock and opened Palmberg Auto Supply in Hilmar. He ran for Turlock City Council in 1982 and served 12 and half years, the last four as Mayor Pro Tem.
During his time on the Council, Palmberg made his reputation by asking tough questions and sometimes putting people on the spot — all for the good of Turlock.
"He was a great man for the city of Turlock," said former mayor Curt Andre, who served on the Council with Palmberg.
"I was very fond of working with Maurey, not to say that we always agreed, but you can tell when someone is working for the greater good of community and Maurey always based his decisions on what was best for the longtime welfare and vision for Turlock," continued Andre.
Andre said that no matter how heated a Council discussion got, when the meeting was over they all left as friends.
"He teased me mercilessly, but it was always with a good heart," he said.
Andre said that Palmberg was a big advocate for orderly, planned development of Turlock.
"All of north Turlock, Monte Vista Crossings and east Turlock we owe to Maurey and others for a disciplined growth," said Andre.
Palmberg left his mark on the city, among them is the "Palmberg Rule." He insisted that the city staff not put any expenditure of $20,000 or more on the consent calendar, as all items on the calendar can be approved as one item with no discussion unless a council member requests it.
"I would like to think I have made a difference," said Palmberg in an interview with the Journal shortly before ending his service on the Council in 1995. "I think in my time I have had a voice of moderation in terms of emotion, and I have been conservative when it came to fiscal matters."
Along with serving on the City Council, Palmberg was also very active in the community. He was a camp counselor, a youth leader, and a visitation "pastor" at the men's prison in Tracy. He was a Sunday school teacher for years and especially enjoyed his tenure as II Timothy class teacher at Turlock Covenant.
When Palmberg retired from business, he worked for over 10 years at Whitehurst-Norton-Dias Funeral Service where he continued his ministry and care for the community. Most recently, he was the unofficial visitation chaplain for Covenant Village of Turlock as he rode his power wheelchair to the hospital, to Brandel Manor nursing home and to the Covenant Care Center every day, visiting his friends, the staff, and people to whom he could bring a smile, a prayer and sometimes a song. It was important to him that he shared his faith and to carry on the Palmberg family heritage of service to God and community begun by his great-grandparents, both paternal and maternal, well over 100 years ago.
Palmberg is survived by his wife of 62 years, Barbara; son, Kurt J. Palmberg and his wife Karole; daughter, Karen Palmberg; three grandchildren; and four great grandchildren.
A memorial service for will be held at 1 p.m. Oct. 15 at Turlock Covenant Church, 316 S. Laurel St., Turlock.