Thelma Palmer, homemaker and devout Christian, died on February 6, 2020, at the age of ninety-one.
Mrs. Palmer was born Thelma Violla Robinson on June 4, 1928, near the tiny community of Couch, Oregon County, Missouri. She was the firstborn child of Charles “Charlie” Maurice Robinson and Dorothy May (Alford) Robinson. Charlie was a grocer. Dorothy was a busy and industrious homemaker, whom Charlie often enlisted to help tend “the store.”
When it became clear that the small community was unable to support her father’s grocery store, the family moved to Thayer, Oregon County, Missouri, where Thelma attended the local schools, and worked in her father’s general stores.
During her sophomore year in high school Thelma made a decision that gave direction and meaning to the rest of her life. She made a faith commitment to become a Christian. Soon thereafter, she volunteered to become a Sunday school teacher in a local Pentecostal church. Much of the rest of her life she was involved in teaching the Bible (and related subjects) to children, teenagers, young adults, adults, and seniors. Along the way, the audiences changed and the subjects changed, but Thelma’s love of learning and commitment to teaching never wavered.
In 1948, while attending Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University) in Springfield, Missouri, Thelma met Donald “Don” LeRoy Palmer, a student at Central Bible Institute who hailed from Perkins County, South Dakota. The two were married on Sunday, September 11, 1949, in Thelma’s home church in Thayer, following the morning service.
To this union were born three children: Michael Don Palmer, Rexford Lynn Palmer, and Debora Kathryn (Palmer) Wiederspan.
Following Don’s retirement as a locomotive engineer, he and Thelma traveled the country in their motor home, taking in the sights of the Oregon coast in the fall, basking in the warmth of the Arizona sun during the winter months, and enjoying the Midwest and Southeast parts of the country during the early spring time. A highlight of their travels was to Plains Georgia where they met and attended a Sunday school class taught by Jimmy Carter.
Thelma loved to garden. Among other memorable delights, her vegetable garden yielded sweet corn, butternut squash, green beans, tomatoes and raspberries. Her pickled beets, pickles, peaches, pears and Bing cherries were family favorites.
Following Don’s death in 2004, Thelma lived in the family home in Missoula, Montana, until 2017 when she moved into an assisted living facility in Missoula. She remained in assisted living until her death.
Thelma is survived by her three children (Michael Don, Rexford Lynn, and Debora Kathryn), two daughters-in-law (Connie Marie (Weber) Palmer and Donna Mae (Weber) Palmer); sister Nola June (Robinson) Fletcher, numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren; and one great, great granddaughter.
She is preceded in death by her sister Velma Maxine Robinson (1930), sister-in-law Helen (Dills) Robinson (1973), father Charles “Charlie” Maurice Robinson (1977), mother Dorothy May (Alford) Robinson (1983), brother Dwight Lawrence Robinson (1992), brother-in-law Robert fletcher (1996), grandson Bradley “Brad” Charles Palmer (1997), husband Donald “Don” LeRoy Palmer (2004), son-in-law Charles “Charlie” Alan Wiederspan (2009), sister-in-law Betty (Carrington) Robinson (2009), great grandson Levi Donald Velin (2009), and brother Howard David Robinson (2019).