Cheney Free Press -

Catherine Palmer


Catherine Palmer (age 74) of Cheney and Pullman, Wash, entered into rest Aug. 16 after a battle with lymphoma at the Avalon Care Center in Pullman.

She was born in Seattle, April 9, 1940 to Adell and Andrew Cox. She graduated from Ballard High School in Seattle in 1958 and continued her education at the University of Washington. She received a bachelor's degree in education in 1962 and a master's of education in 1974 from Eastern Washington University.

Palmer's lifetime vocation as a business education teacher began in 1962. After teaching for 27 years at Cheney High School she retired in 1996.  She taught at Rainier Beach High School and Seattle Community College for seven years before marrying Kermit G. Palmer and moving to Cheney.

Palmer considered the highlight of her teaching career the two years spent teaching a senior citizens computer class offered after school at Cheney High School. She knew there was no age limit to learning.

Palmer was active in the local, state and regional professional business educations associations. She was a long-time member of the board of directors of the Cheney Federal Credit Union; a 35-year member of Alpha Psi of Beta Sigma Phi; and was a United States Cycling Federation official, instrumental in bringing the 1988 Olympic Cycling Trials to Cheney.

She was a member of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Spokane.

While at the UW she started her association with her sorority, Sigma Kappa. She became the advisor to Epsilon Rho Chapter at EWU from 1971-1983. Although a Husky, she spent her latter years as Sigma Kappa's House Director at WSU in Pullman. A special friend, Shirley Emerson, taught Palmer Mah Jongg and she enjoyed playing the game whenever possible.

The ladies of Alpha Gamma Chapter provided 18 years of constant drama, which kept Palmer entertained. She greeted all her students and sorority members with a smile and showed a genuine interest in them. Her message to them, and to us all, is this: "In 2007-08 when I had chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, I lost my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. I was tired a lot of the time. Someday, many of the Sigmas will face cancer in their own lives. I want them to remember me and think, Mrs. Palmer did it with a smile, and not feel as afraid."

Palmer is survived by her son, Andy Palmer, and sister, Marylyn Nelson. Also daughter-in-law Kelli Palmer and three granddaughters (Anabella, Alivia and Amelia), brother-in-law Gerald Nelson, stepdaughter Monette Palmer LeMay and stepson Jeff Palmer. No local services will be held. Kimball Funeral Home and Crematory of Pullman, Wash. is caring for the family. Online condolences may be sent to


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