Don Palmiter

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Don Palmiter
GM Truck ornament sketch

Don discusses cars with the warmth and emotion usually relegated to describing an old flame. It’s a passion that has earned him the reputation around Hallmark and with ornament fans as “The Car Guy.”

Hometown and school: I have lived in Kansas City my entire life. I was recruited by Hallmark in my senior year of high school and started here one week after graduation in 1967. I started my career in the artistic engraving department, where I developed an interest and love for sculpting 3-D products. I moved to Keepsakes in the ’80s.



Inspiration: Faith and family are high on my list—so are just about all forms of art, ever since I was a small child. I found that I especially enjoy sculpture, including the art of the automobile. I’ve always thought of them as beautiful works of moving art and design. I’m also attracted to architecture (you can see from my Nostalgic Houses and Shops series) along with the motorcycles, cars, trucks, and pedal cars I’ve sculpted.

Best advice: Probably my best advice came from my high school art teacher who saw an opportunity for me at Hallmark when they came recruiting at our school. He strongly encouraged me to go for it. That was 48 years ago and it worked well for me.

Pit Stop ornament
Roadster ornament

Favorite work of art (so far): I have so many favorite ones, I don’t know if I can bring it down to one alone. I’ve been so lucky to have sculpted so many of the things I love—cars being one of them.

When I’m not working: My wife of 47 years and I have one daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter who live in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Thus, our retirement plan includes a move to Oklahoma to be near them. I really enjoy gardening and will hate to leave mine here in Kansas City—but we’re looking forward to our new home, and creating a new garden.

See the Don Palmiter Keepsake Ornament collection

Did you know?


“When I’m sculpting, it feels like I can take any car I want out for a spin—from classic cruisers to muscle machines like these!”

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