Martin Palmer
Wasilla resident Dr. Martin Palmer, 81, died Jan. 3, 2009, at home from leukemia. "His final wish was to die at home, which was accomplished with the loving support of his family, wonderful friends and caregivers," his family wrote.
A memorial gathering is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Anchorage Senior Center. Call 248-1016 for details.
Martin was born Jan. 20, 1927, in Tallahassee, Fla., to Dr. Henry Edwards Palmer and Sarah Lucile Saxon. He lost his mother shortly after his birth and was raised in the loving embrace of his extended family, with his sister, Sarah, assuming the role of his lifelong nurturer, protector, mentor and best friend.
After serving in World War II, he received his undergraduate degree from Florida State University and in 1954 was the third generation of his family to graduate from John Hopkins University. Dr. Palmer practiced medicine in New Orleans for several years, lived in San Francisco for a short time, and moved to Anchorage in 1968. He fell in love with the natural beauty of Alaska and became enchanted by the quality of light in the northern latitudes, which he explored in several published poems and essays. He obtained an MFA from the University of Alaska and was a talented wordsmith and raconteur, his family wrote, winning several creative writing awards for his literary work.
Dr. Palmer practiced medicine in Anchorage for 37 years while also serving as an adjunct professor in English at UAA for many years. He loved teaching and was beloved by his students. He relocated to Wasilla in 2003, where he practiced medicine and also taught English at the UAA, Mat-Su Campus, until his retirement in 2005.
Dr. Palmer is survived by his sisters, Sarah Palmer Proctor of Tallahassee and Mary Palmer Collins of Eldorado Hills, Calif.
He was preceded in death by his brothers, Dr. George S. Palmer, C. Bryan Palmer, Henry Palmer, Dr. Thomas M. Palmer and Hugh Archer Palmer.
He is survived by numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
"Martin will be deeply missed by his family and many friends all over the world," his family also wrote. "He is remembered for his distinctive voice, described as 'warm honey dripping off a spoon,' his far-ranging intellect and his incisive wit."
Arrangements were with Valley Funeral Home in Wasilla.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Anchorage Daily News from Jan. 12 to Jan. 13, 2009.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Add a Message

Not sure what to say?

20 Entries
Rebecca Ikeda-Chandler
February 4, 2009
Michael Ikeda-Chandler
February 4, 2009
I first met Martin just days after I arrived in Anchorage from Mississippi, ending a career in emergency medicine, to study health sciences (HIV) at the University of Alaska (UAA). While we shared many fun times he was both my friend and mentor. Aside from our late light discussions of southern manners and the strange fruit of the Deep South he would floor me with his readings of poetry in both English and German. More importantly he allowed me to accept myself, encouraged me to peruse my dreams and to never give up. As a poor student he opened his doors to me and my peers as we exhauster ourselves fighting for LGBT equality in Alaska/UAA. He taught me that not only did salmon not have to come out of a can but that a poor student could be seen by a doctor without a dime in his or her pocket. Most of my peers were collegiate athletes and they refused to see any Dr. but Martin. I headed to medical school as Martin dropped me off at the airport, poodle at his side, I wept as I left Alaska but my true sorrow was leaving behind this man who had touched my heart on so many levels. I will hold and cherish the many writings I received from him since that departure. My only desire now is that I become both the Dr. and the bright light he shared with humanity. I will miss Martin deeply and I have to laugh at thinking he would gently correct this writing, pointing out my Southern grammar issues, in harsh German with a smile along with his wonderful laugh. I wish his family the very best. Not only a loss for Alaska but for all of humanity.
William (Burt) Pettis
February 1, 2009
I just learned of Martin's passing....ironic, I was awaiting news of the annual birthday gathering and just thinking of my dear Martin so very much. We shared almost 40 years of friendship always starting where we left off when we connected after sometimes long partings. I love the description "like honey dripping off a spoon" so perfectly true!! I will miss that voice and much more. There's a Martin shaped hole in the world.
Connie Faulkner - Durvin
January 27, 2009
Dr. Martin Palmer will be especially remembered and cherished by the Transgender community of Anchorage, long before most people knew what and who Transgender people were or what that meant and most doctors wouldn't and didn't treat us, Dr. Palmer did and was at that time the only doctor in Alaska who prescribed hormones for Transsexuals. He understood the importance of being who you really are inside. He always treated everyone with the utmost respect and had a wonderful sense of humor. He was a great man who will be missed by all that know him.
Cameron Bonham
January 25, 2009
Martin was a wonderful, supportive member of the community and he left a wonderful written legacy along with the people he touched on his journey. One of the nicest people you would ever want to meet and by far one of the most interesting. You will be missed greatly and will not be forgotten.
Scott Turner
January 15, 2009
Martin was a warm, generous man who cared deeply about people, animals and the environment. How wonderful that he had such an impact on people in Alaska as well as in many distant places. He wanted to make sure that he lived long enough to vote last fall and I know he was happy to see in his lifetime the election of the first African-American president. Though I only met him a few years ago I was so glad that I had the chance to get to know him. His wishes regarding a memorial gathering were classic and Martin and got me to smile even in a time of sadness at his passing. Martin was a fine man who will be missed.
John Hechtel
January 15, 2009
Martin Palmer was a very caring person, not only to his patients and students but to pets also. He loved going for walks with his Standard Poodle and gave generously to pet organizations. May he be surrounded by all the love he gave to others.
Debi Richmond
January 13, 2009
I had him for English 111 in the summer of 2003. Great teacher. I'm sorry to hear of his passing.
Jason Duffy
January 13, 2009
A fine, fine man. He will be missed.
Jerry Brookman
January 13, 2009
D.A Jim Garrison of New Orleans could never have imagined that his show trial in the '60's of Clay Shaw would cause Martin to spent the rest of his life in Alaska. After I met him in 1969 for the first time, Anchorage with the beauty of Alaska became a regular stop on my round the world itinerary.

Martin Palmer introduced me to this world like no other person could ever have done. He became a very dear and close friend.

I am deeply greatfull that our friendship lasted for nearly 40 years.

Jacob Gelt Dekker, Amsterdam
jacob Dekker
January 13, 2009
What a kind, compassionate and great man he was! It makes me smile just to think about him.
Patti Cummings
January 12, 2009
Bye- Bye Martin, Take Care Yourself wherever you are. I am not going to forget you.
George Salras
January 12, 2009
Martin was most egalitarian. I miss him already.
Jim McKnight
January 12, 2009
Martin was a friend, fellow writer, and professor at the University of Alaska. I remember with great fondness our many conversations about writing, teaching, and Alaska. He was a great gentleman who contributed so much good to so many lives. I grieve his passing.
Sally Carricaburu
January 12, 2009
I first met Martin at his garage sale about 12 years ago, where I purchased "An Exhalation of Larks." It turned into one of my favorite books, so I totally enjoyed re- meeting Martin in the last few years.
As I reacquainted, I found I thoroughly relished talking with him..
I found him a very gentle person & wish his family well.
Wm thof Sigler ij
January 12, 2009
I lived in a 4-plex on Abbey Road in Spenard in the early 1990's. Martin lived above me, and he was a wonderful neighbor. I still have a lovely scarf and earrings he gave me as an appreciation gift for keeping an eye on his place while he went on vacation. What a sweet, kind man.
Betsy Woodin
January 12, 2009
Martin taught at UAA with me, and I will always remember his devotion and care for his students.

I also will remember his own published writing--the careful choice of words, brave voice, and beauty.
Good-bye, Martin.
Kate Sandberg
January 12, 2009
Martin will be missed. Sorry to hear of his passing
Harriet Lawlor
January 12, 2009
Dr. Palmer was my doctor back in the 1970s, and we also became good friends. As long as memory serves me, I will remember how I enjoyed hearing his soothing, mellifluous voice, and laughing at his wry humor.

My sympathy to his family and many friends.
Bob Miller
January 12, 2009
Showing 1 - 20 of 20 results