William M. Palmer died peacefully on April 1, 2012 surrounded by the love of his family and friends. He was born June 15, 1928 in Barnesville, Ohio to the late Everett and Hazel Palmer. Growing up in Barnesville, Bill enjoyed spending time at his grandfathers farm and hunting in the wooded, rolling hills of eastern Ohio. A child of the Great Depression, he was a hard worker, delivering five different papers on his paper route, washing dishes with his sister Betty for his Mom and Aunts baking business and working at the local dairy cleaning out milk cans.
After high school Bill went to Kent State University for two years and played trombone in the marching band. He then went on to the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) where he earned his B.S. in Forestry in 1950. He later received his masters degree in Forest Economics from Michigan State University, though he would always be a Wolverine. Bill was drafted into the US Army and taught surveying and map making before being sent to Korea where he served as a sergeant and explosives expert. He said the only reason he was an explosive expert is because hes the one they gave the manual to.
After returning from Korea, Bill joined the US Forest Service where he began a distinguished 33 year career that carried him from northern Mississippi to South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Washington D.C. and San Francisco. As a district ranger and throughout his life, Bill worked to promote a healthy environment, sound conservation principles, and wise stewardship of the land. Bill was an avid bird watcher and his yard was haven for a wide variety of birds. In recent years, Bill became an enthusiastic supporter of the American Chestnut Foundation (ACF). The ACF supports efforts to restore to our forests the American chestnut tree eradicated by blight at the turn of century.
While working on the Sumter National Forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Bill met his first wife Doris. Bill and Doris had two sons, David and Karl. After Doriss death in 1969, Bill, David and Karl headed to California. At his 25 year high school reunion, Bill reconnected with his classmate, Diane Kirk Priest. In 1971, Bill and Diane were married, and along with his new daughter Barbara they moved to San Rafael. An active member of Aldersgate United Methodist Church for over 40 years, he served in many leadership and support roles in the church community. Bill loved singing tenor in the choir and cherished the many lifelong friends that were his Aldersgate family.
Bill was kind and compassionate, caring and supportive, more eager to listen than to talk, but also someone with a quick, dry wit. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend who will be missed by many. Bill was preceded in death by his beautiful wife Diane and is survived by his children; David and his wife Darcy, Barbara and her husband Mike, Karl and his wife Gini. He is also survived by twelve beautiful grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and a wonderful extended family. A Memorial Celebration will be held May 5th, 2012 at 1:00 p.m., Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 1 Wellbrock Heights, San Rafael, CA 94903. Memorial donations may be made to Hospice By the Bay (www.hospicebythebay.org ), Aldersgate United Methodist Church, or the American Chestnut Foundation (www.acf.org).