School 21

Jean V. Palmer

January 19, 1929 ~ August 16, 2023 (age 94) 94 Years Old


Jean V. Palmer, 94, formerly of Watertown, died Wednesday, August 16 of pneumonia at Auburn Community Hospital, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. Born Theo Jean Valentine on January 19, 1929, to Leon and Helen (Zahas) Valentine, she spent her early years in Syracuse until moving with her family to Watertown. While attending Watertown High School she met Glenn F. “Mike” Palmer, the love of her life. They graduated together in 1947 and were married October 2, 1950, at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church in Watertown. Jean was a stay-at-home mom for years before beginning a teaching career in Watertown schools, first as a fifth-grade teacher at Holy Family School and afterwards as the Algebra instructor at Immaculate Heart Central High School. She is fondly remembered by many students. Her husband Mike died suddenly in 1972, leaving Jean to raise their five children, ranging in age from 10 to 19. She never complained and never showed the strain of raising a large family alone. After years of teaching, at age 50, Jean went back to earn a master’s degree from Syracuse University and began a third career as a counselor for New York State V.E.S.I.D. – the Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities program, working in the Syracuse office until retiring at age 72.

In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by her sisters Alice Bonaparte and Dorothy Potamianos, and her brother-in-law Peter Potamianos.

She is survived by her sister, Diane Arenella of Boston, her children Michael (Joanne) of East Sandwich MA, David (Sasha) of Baltimore MD, James of Easthampton MA, Mary E. of East Providence RI, and Suzanne (Nick) Cordone of Cato NY, her daughter-in-law Ellen of Hope RI, seven grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and many nieces and nephews. In addition, the family recognizes most gratefully the care and assistance given by Suzanne’s family and Jean’s granddaughters Grace, Kathleen, and Alice in the last several years of her life. Jean’s wish was to donate her body to Upstate Medical School for research.

There will be a Celebration of Life late next spring, and a Mass of Remembrance at the National Shrine of Saint Alphonsus Liguori in Baltimore. After her body is released next year by Upstate Medical, she will be laid to rest in Northside Cemetery in Watertown, next to her beloved husband Mike, who has waited patiently these fifty-one years.

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