Palacios was devoted to family, community
Longtime police officer, 57, servedon school board and as civic leader
|Lt. John Palacios
September 05, 2007IMLAY CITY — For his entire adult life, John Palacios dedicated himself to taking care of his family and community.
On Saturday, Sept. 1, Palacios, 57, passed away at Beaumont Hospital in Troy, leaving behind a legacy of service to others.
While the longtime Imlay City police officer had been battling cancer for some time, news of Palacios' death came as a surprise to many of his friends.
Just last Tuesday, Palacios was the guest of honor at a retirement party at Imlay City Hall, attended by family members and many co-workers and friends.
Palacios was a 1969 graduate of Imlay City High School, who went on to obtain an associate's degree in criminal justice from Mott Community College in Flint.
The police lieutenant's professional career began in November 1973, when he was assigned to be the department's DARE officer and liaison officer at the high school.
Indeed, it was working with young people that proved to be the most satisfying aspect of his job.
"Working with youth has always been very important to me," Palacios said last week during his retirement party. "I like to see them turn out to be good people and contributors to the community."
Imlay City Police Chief Arlan Winslow, with whom Palacios shared a personal and professional relationship, considered him a trusted and valued friend.
"As a friend and colleague, I thought of John as a brother," said Winslow. "I knew him since the sixth grade. We were friends then and we stayed friends for all these years. I always knew I could count on John. I trusted him.
"He was very devoted to his family and loved them very much," Winslow added. "Everything he did was for his family—and for the community he loved."
Police dispatcher Vickie Reintjes said Palacios particularly enjoyed working with young people.
"I worked with him for 29 years, so I got to know him pretty well," said Reintjes. "He loved working at the school with the kids. And they loved him, too. He was just a great guy. We will miss him very much."
Palacios' nephew, Adam Villanueva, said although many people knew his uncle's professional side, some were unaware of his personal kindness.
"We had a special relationship," said Villanueva. "He was like a father and brother to me. He was very generous. When somebody needed something, he never turned his back on them. He was always there to offer his support and guidance.
He loved his family so much," he continued. "He always did what he could, and he brought out the best in everyone."
In addition to Palacios' diverse duties as a police officer, he was a member and past president of the Imlay City Eagles Club and served on the Imlay City Board of Education.
He also was an ambulance driver and attendant and served as assistant director of the former Imlay City Ambulance Service.
Palacios was married to wife Leonor "Machi" Rodriguez on Dec. 18, 1971 in San Juan, Texas.
The couple has a daughter, Angie Meredith of Almont; twin sons, Tony and Toby Palacios of Imlay City; and a granddaughter, Kali.
He is also survived by his father, José Palacios of Imlay City and three sisters, Maria Boyne of Imlay City; Angie Parrish of Imlay City; and Enriqueta Villanueva of Imlay City.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Maria Felicitas Palacios; sister, Paula Almendarez; and brother, Bernadino Palacios.
Funeral services will take place Thursday, Sept. 6 at 11 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Visiting hours are today (Wednesday, Sept. 5) from 1-5 p.m and 7-9 p.m. at Muir Brothers Funeral Home in Imlay City.
Memorials may be made to the Palacios family.
For a complete obituary, turn to page 2-B.