Barbara May Palmer



Barbara May (Reed) Palmer, 79, of Saint Joseph passed away peacefully Sunday, April 26, 2015 at Lakeland Medical Center, Saint Joseph.  A Funeral Service will be held on Friday, May 1st at 11:00 am at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, 914 Lane Dr., Saint Joseph, MI with Rev. Dennis Remenschneider officiating. Arrangements have been entrusted to Starks and Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Services, 2650 Niles Rd., St. Joseph, MI 49085.  Memorial donations may be made to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s organ fund or Planned Parenthood. Those wishing to sign Barbara’s memory book online may do so

Barbara was born August 25, 1935 in Flint, Michigan to Howard B. and Frances (O’Meara) Reed.  She was an elementary school teacher in Flint, Flushing and the northern Detroit suburbs.  Barbara had a love of classical music and was a lifelong church organist and choir director.  She began playing organ in a church at the age of 14 but had to stop when Parkinson’s disease took away her keyboard abilities.  In addition to playing the organ, she was a longtime member of the American Guild of Organists and very involved in its Flint Michigan Chapter.  When she was not leading or accompanying a musical group, she was singing in one.

A tireless advocate for women’s issues, she was active in the National Organization for Women and the Episcopal Women’s Caucus.   When living in Arizona, she was a member of the Red Hat Society.  She maintained lifelong friendships including a 60-year correspondence with a pen pal in Germany and made new friends wherever she traveled.

She is survived by her husband of 54 years, Thomas Palmer; sister Dorothea (Reed) Leffel; daughters Carole Palmer of Window Rock, AZ, Carla (Rick) Thornton of Clinton, MI, Julia (Dave) Warner of Swartz Creek, MI; son Tony Palmer, M.D. of Saint Joseph, MI; grandchildren Thomas, Carrie, Anthony and Barbara Warner and numerous nieces and nephews.  She was preceded by her parents, her sister, Lois (Reed) Jones and her brother Donald Reed.


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