Jean Marie Palomares, one of the icons of Northern California philately and a stamp dealer for 34 years, passed away on January 22, 2012, due to complications from advanced diabetes and heart disease. She would have been 80 at the end of February.
I have had the incredibly great pleasure of knowing Jean Marie Palomares (nee Oberhausen) throughout my entire adult life. She has been my philatelic mentor, and always will remain my dearest, most steadfast friend. During my rather reckless youth, she also acted many times as my surrogate mother, counseling and assisting me through many of the very BAD decisions I made as a young adult.
In early 1970, there were two stamp stores in the Concord / Walnut Creek, CA Area, but I fell in love with the little stamp shop on Pacheco St. in Concord, CA. The shop was run by Jean Palomares, a stamp collector, and her business partner, John Colonias, a stamp collector and nuclear scientist at the University of California. The shop had a relaxed atmosphere and was a place where all levels of stamp collectors could go and spend hours looking at stamps and talking to the owners about stamp collecting.
After a short time, Jean bought out her partner, becoming the sole proprietor of the business. She then renamed the business to "Jean Marie's Stamp Shoppe". In later years, Jean Marie's Stamp Shoppe relocated to Salvio St. and then to Colfax St., in Concord, CA, where it remained until the end of 2002.
As young collectors, we have all had the humiliating and discouraging experience of going to a stamp shop or bourse and finding that the dealer had little interest in assisting beginning collectors with many questions about the hobby and just a few dollars to spend. As a general worldwide stamp collector, this also happened to Jean, and in large part, this was the reason she decided to open her own stamp store.
Her retail philosophy was one of
"courtesy" and "hospitality". She was always polite and took the time
to assist all of her customers, whether they were young, beginning
collectors looking for new treasures in the penny stamp box or
specialists looking to spend thousands of dollars on classical rarities.
This is a trait that the majority of stamp dealers do not have, even
Going to Jean Marie's Stamp Shoppe was always a pleasant and rewarding experience. Jean bought many collections over the years, but she hardly ever broke them down for display and sale. Thus, the stock room of her store was always full of unsorted collections and albums for her customers to go through. There were ALWAYS undiscovered treasures to be found in searching through the collections in her store.
Jean's shop was a special place on Friday nights, when she stayed open until 9:00 PM, to serve collectors that could not come in on weekdays. Collectors would come in to relax and talk about stamps. and Jean would usually order pizza and provide refreshments for everyone there.
Jean Marie's Stamp Shoppe was one of the last of a now, bygone era of friendly neighborhood stamp stores. Jean was also active in local stamp clubs and philatelic societies, and she participated in many local stamp shows. She mentored me to join the Diablo Valley Stamp Club in the early 1970's and for membership in the American Philatelic Society in 1982.
She closed her store at the end of 2002 and retired from the business, so she could spend more time with her family and her grandchildren. Jean was also active in community services through her church and other non-profit organizations.
shall love Jean Marie Palomares always, and as long as I live, I will
never forget my memories of her and the huge influence she was in the
shaping of my adult life.