Waterford- Sharon Irene Murphy Palmer, 77, of Waterford, died Friday, December 4, 2020 at her home.
She was born in Middletown October 29, 1943, the daughter of Frederick and Anna Gallivan Murphy. She married George Palmer, Jr., November 3, 1973. He predeceased her November 25, 2013 after 40 years of marriage.
Mrs. Palmer was a graduate of East Hampton High School, class of 1961; and received a Bachelor of Science from St. Joseph College in 1965, and earned a Master's Degree in Marine Science from Eastern Connecticut State University in 1978 and began a teaching career at Hale Ray in Moodus. She went on to work for the Army as a teacher in Germany where she spent her down time touring Europe in a VWS Bus. After she returned from Europe she started teaching at Clark Lane Jr. High in Waterford teaching Math, Science and the gifted and talented program. In 1989 she took a position with the AFT-CT as the first vice president, and from there was elected to the position of President.
Her daughter Kerry O'Neill posted on Facebook, "Today the world lost a powerhouse, a woman that was a force to be reckoned with. A person who worked tirelessly for the betterment of our municipality, our state, its people, our Education system, the working people and all that encompasses what is right and just in this world."
Sharon was involved in politics as a member of the Waterford RTM for 23 years, serving on many boards task forces and committees from a local to a national level, some elected, some appointed, and some volunteered. She left the RTM of Connecticut and was appointed a labor commissioner for the State of Connecticut by former Governor Daniel Malloy. She retired in 2015 after working for 58 years. In her downtime she enjoyed a good tag sale, antiquing, and car cruising with her late husband George in their 1959 Cadillac Eldorado.
Sharon was proud of her 100% Irish heritage hailing from County Cork in Ireland.
In addition to her daughter Kerry O'Neill, she is survived by an aunt, Marty McBrien of Portland, CT; a brother-in-law Roger Palmer of Colchester, CT; her former son-in-law Timothy O'Neill of New London, CT, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 AM on Thursday in St. Mary Star of the Sea Church followed by interment in St. Mary Cemetery. Condolences may be shared on Sharon's memorial page at www.neilanfuneral home.com
Her family would like to thank the Waterford Emergency Services, nurses and physicians of 4.1 at the Lawrence and Memorial Hospital; Kindred Care at Home of Saybrook; and Hartford Healthcare at Home Hospice for their dedication and care.
Published by Middletown Press on Dec. 7, 2020.