Tributes for

Palacin, Jeannette

Jeannette Bernadicou Palacin
Our beautiful and amazing mother passed peacefully on August 2, 2014, a few days after her 98th birthday. The last week of her life she was surrounded by her loving family-her two daughters Terry Norton and Madeleine Palacin, her beloved sister Anna Bernadicou, her son-in-law Dennis Norton and her grandchildren Erin Farber and Casey Norton. Her adoring husband Ray Palacin predeceased her in 2006. She also leaves Erin's husband Todd Farber and her great-grandchildren Ryan and Samantha Farber feeling very sad.
She was born on July 24, 1916 to Calixte and Madeleine Lilles Bernadicou, both from southern France, and Mom was the epitome of a first-generation French/American woman and very proud. We have wonderful memories of the "La Marseillaise" being sung loudly and proudly after holiday dinners.
After their mother's death in 1925, Mom and her younger sister Anna were raised in Madera California by their aunt and uncle. Her devotion to her sister began on that fateful day in 1925 and theirs has been the most inspiring sisterhood and friendship imaginable. In fact, Mom's last words were "My baby, my sister."
Mom was the first in her family to attend college. Her Madera High School Spanish teacher convinced her to go to UC Berkeley, which in the mid-1930s was an extraordinary ambition for a young woman. She was an avid language student until her father could no longer afford the tuition, but she was a loyal Bears season ticket holder into her 80s.
Her dream had always been to be a teacher, but in the '30s women were not allowed to be educators and married, so when she was forced to leave Cal she could no longer resist our dad's many proposals and they were wed in 1938.
While our dad served overseas during WWII Mom was a warrior at home, a valiant "war widow" who worked a $90/month job at a SF publishing firm while penning letters to dad every day. She kept an incredible scrapbook of memorabilia of the war, a testament to both her artistic and loving sides.
In 1945 Dad returned to father two baby boomers. Theirs was a fun marriage, with lots of humor and great times with dear friends like the Rattos, Rouquettes, Bourdets, Plumes, and the Nouques. It seemed like they were always laughing.
Mom was a health nut who eschewed prescription drugs for yoga, tai chi and a diet devoid of processed foods and chemicals. She earned her 98 years.
Despite the fact that society prevented her from ever becoming a teacher, Mom was a lifelong student. She studied and spoke French and Spanish fluently and even dabbled in Italian. She took art, writing, and calligraphy classes and was always making gifts to be sold at the French hospital gift shop. She was the first to bring a meal to her aging relatives and was her father's right-hand woman in his later years.
She could have been a professor, a CEO or an amazing artist, but her generation of married women did not have those opportunities or aspirations. She was happy to be the best wife, mother, sister, grandmother, mother-in-law, great-grandmother, French chef, and artsy-craftsy creator of amazing hot-glued, spray-gilded, polished rock and glass covered sculptures.
She was a beautiful woman, inside and out, fiercely loyal, funny, wicked smart, adorable and adored. We will miss her all the days of our lives.
We'd like to thank Jonathan, Cindy, Brigham, Sophia, Elizabeth and their loving and devoted staff for caring for mom not just in her last days, but for the past seven years. We will always be grateful.
At Mom's request private services were held. Memorial donations may be made to the charity of your choice.


Mortuary: McAvoy O'Hara

Florist: the delicate daisy House of Flowers