MARY "Beth" PALMER
PALMER Mary Elizabeth Palmer "Beth" Beth Palmer, 67, a World Champion Bridge Player and an Administrative Judge in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, died of breast cancer October 2, 2019 at her home in Chevy Chase, MD. She is survived by her husband of 27 years, William Covill Pettis; her daughter, Julie Elizabeth Pettis of Manhattan, NY; and three siblings, Julie Palmer of Brookline, MA, Jeff Palmer of Bloomington, IN, and Win Palmer of Sewickley, PA. She is also survived by many loving nieces, nephews, in-laws, cousins, and friends. Beth's career with the EEOC spanned more than 30 years. As an Administrative Judge, she adjudicated hundreds of employment discrimination cases, finding monetary as well as equitable relief for federal employees who were subjected to unlawful discrimination in the workplace. She was an expert in class action adjudications. Beth was Chief Administrative Judge for the Commission's Baltimore Field Office and a sought-after speaker and trainer in the EEOC community. She was deeply respected by the Administrative Judges she supervised for her temperament, wisdom, and intellectual and legal acumen. Beth was a World Bridge Federation Grand Master and an American Contract Bridge League Grand Life Master. She won five women's team world championships, two women's pair world events, and 29 major U.S. women's team events. In addition, she won the 2018 World Mixed Team championship. She was active as a bridge volunteer locally, nationally, and internationally. She served on the Washington Bridge League Board of Directors for 10 years and played a leadership role in developing and implementing standards governing appropriate and ethical conduct at the bridge table. Beth's legions of friends, teammates, and competitors in the bridge world revered her as "a great friend, a great player, a great teammate, and a wonderful person," as "a tough opponent, but always a gracious one," as "unflaggingly compassionate," as "one of the nicest and smartest people in bridge," and as "one of the all-time class acts in bridge." Beth was devoted to her daughter, Julie. Among other activities in the early years, she served as Girl Scout leader and basketball coach. In recent years, she and Julie traveled widely, including a spectacular trip in July to Denali National Park, Alaska. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Komen Foundation at Susan G. Komen, 5005 LBJ Freeway, Suite 526, Dallas TX 75244. Please specify that the gift is for breast cancer research. A memorial service will be held on November 2, 2019 at 2 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, 100 Welsh Park Drive, Rockville, MD 20850.
Published in The Washington Post on Oct. 6, 2019.
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