Barbara F. Palmer

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Mrs. Barbara F. Palmer of Tolland, widow of the late Theodore T. Palmer, and first child of the late Harold and Rose (Walker) Foerch, died Friday, June 28, 2013, at her home in Tolland.

Mrs. Palmer was born in Clinton in 1921, was educated in the schools of the state, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics in 1942, and a master's of guidance counseling in 1963, both from the University of Connecticut. In 1947, she moved with her family to Tolland. As a parent in 1949, Mrs. Palmer worked with other mothers to establish the Tolland Parents and Teachers Association for the towns' newly consolidated elementary school. She was instrumental in establishing the first hot lunch program for that school. When the town voted to establish its own high school, she worked with the general and department curriculum committees. She taught home economics in Rockville High School. In 1967 she moved to the newly opened Tolland High School, working there as a guidance counselor until she retired in 1984. Working with the Cooperative Extension Service, she helped to promote practical youth education through the 4-H Clubs of America. She and other Tolland mothers started clubs for their children for sewing clothing, home cooking, and preserving garden foods. Mrs. Palmer was active in the civic life in Tolland. She was a longtime member of the Tolland Historical Society. Under the 1987 Connecticut statue, she was named the curator of both the Daniel Benton Museum and the Tolland County Jail Museum. She established the oral history and publication programs of the society. She published a booklet and many articles, and edited and encouraged numerous writing of others. As a part of the Historical Society's educational mission, she organized a program of illustrated lectures for school children. Her own specialty was textiles and clothing. She lent her own and the Historical Society's efforts to Tolland's celebration of its 250th and 275th year birthdays. For many years, Mrs. Palmer was an active member of the United Congregational Church of Tolland. She taught Sunday school, served on pastoral search committees, on canvassing committees, on the parsonage building committee, and participated in several expansions of the church building itself. In 2006, Mrs. Palmer was honored by the Lions Club of Tolland as Woman of the Year for her long career service in Tolland. In the 1970s, following old family documents as clues to location and identity, Barbara traveled to Switzerland and reestablished contact with a large number of family members with whom communication had been lost for more than 50 years. They became and remain family friends. With her husband, Theodore, Mrs. Palmer ensured that a large tract of forestland on Kendall Mountain Road was acquired by the town on Tolland. In addition to her lifelong passion for youth education, Mrs. Palmer was also deeply interested in her flower gardening, wild flowers, and all growing things. Throughout her life, she pursed various styles of needlework, including sewing, knitting, embroidery, and quilting.

Mrs. Palmer had two brothers, H. Edward Foerch, deceased, and Donald Foerch of Avon Park, Fla. She is survived by her children, Sharon Palmer-Royston of Maryland, Martha P. Beale of Tolland, T. Allan Palmer of Lebanon, Peter C. Palmer of Tolland, Carol P. Cadman of Tolland, and Floyd C. Palmer of Tolland; 12 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

Remembrances in her name may be sent to the Tolland Historical Society and the United Congregational Church of Tolland.

Relatives and friends may join the family on Tuesday, July 2, 2013, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at the Tolland Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Merrow Road (Route 195), Tolland.

A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, July 3, 2013, at 11 a.m. at the United Congregational Church of Tolland. Burial will follow at South Cemetery, Tolland.

For online condolences please visit

Funeral Home
Tolland Memorial Funeral Home
375 Merrow Rd
Tolland, CT 06084
(860) 875-1415
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Published in Journal Inquirer from July 1 to July 5, 2013
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