Curtis C. (Curt) Palmer – Athlete
Curt Palmer was born in Berwick April 30, 1957 into a curling family, so it should have come as no surprise that he began curling at the age of 11. He recalls Gerald Bezanson coming to the Berwick school and doing a presentation on the sport.
Curt’s parents and grandparents all curled. “My grandfather, Howard Margeson, once played on a team with his father, E.W. (Ernest) Margeson,” he says.”Curling has run in our family for a long time.”
Curt ran cross-country at West Kings, and was part of back-to-back senior boys’ provincial champions in 1973-1974. He was for several years a top-10 ranked provincial tennis player, and has also run four marathons, but curling has always been the sport closest to his heart.
Curt graduated from Acadia and attended law school at Dalhousie, from where he graduated with his law degree in 1981. Practicing in Bridgewater, he became friends with Brian Rafuse.
Rafuse, Palmer, Glenn Josephson and Dave Slaunwhite formed a curling team that enjoyed a great deal of success at the provincial level.
“Brian, Dave, Glenn and I started curling together in 1981,” he says. “We ended up curling together for 26 years. I’m not aware of a curling team that stayed together that long.”
Team Rafuse was the provincial runner-up four times before finally breaking through and winning their first Tankard championship in 1996. “We thought we were never going to win,” Curt says. “It’s a testament to the chemistry and camaraderie we had as a team.”
By 2006, Rafuse, Josephson and Slaunwhite, having reached age 50, were all eligible to compete at the senior level. Curt explained, “the other three guys were two or more years older than me. In 2006, they were eligible to play senior, but I wasn’t old enough yet.”
Curt played for two years on a team skipped by Mark Kehoe. Playing out of Windsor, Team Kehoe won the Tankard in 2007, earning Curt his second provincial championship.
In 2008, Curt resumed curling with Rafuse. The team of Rafuse, Palmer, Alan Darragh and Slaunwhite, with Josephson as spare, won the Tankard, then went on to capture the senior men’s provincials as well.
“We’re the only Nova Scotia men’s team I’m aware of to win both championships in the same year,” Curt says. “We won bronze at the senior nationals. We didn’t have a great Brier, but we were by far the oldest team in the competition.”
In 2010, Rafuse, Palmer, Darragh, Slaunwhite and Josephson teamed up to again win the provincial seniors. In 2011, Curt won a third provincial senior title, this time on a team skipped by Scott Saunders and including both Slaunwhite and Josephson.
Rafuse and Slaunwhite have retired, but Palmer and Josephson have continued to curl together competitively, in both the men’s amateur and senior men’s divisions.
During the 2015-2016 season, Curt played second at the Tankard on a team skipped by Darragh, and which also included Josephson and Curt’s 29-year-old son Colin as mate. Darragh, Stuart MacLean, Palmer and Josephson competed at the senior level.
In addition to his Tankard and senior curling, Curt is a three-time winner of the Western Counties championship, and a nine-time winner of the Greenwood closing bonspiel. He also won the Birks trophy at the 1986 Quebec International bonspiel.
In 1985, he played on a team that won the Johnson Senior championship. Four years later, in 1979, the rules having changed, he was part of a team that won the Johnson Junior championship.
Curt remains a competitive curler, and in the fall of 2017, will be eligible to play at the Masters level. He is proud of the fact that his two sons, Colin and Ben, are actively carrying on the family tradition. His only regret is that “I wasn’t able to accomplish what I have while curling out of Berwick.”
The Berwick Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to induct, in the athlete category, championship curler Curt Palmer.