Nathan Hunt Palmer : May 21, 1936 — July 21, 2016

To those who knew and loved Pop, it is no surprise that he died with as much selflessness and dignity with which he lived. Our loving and loyal husband, father, grandfather, and brother died July 21 st at 2 pm at the age of 80 with his family by his side. He is survived by his wife; Suzy (Elsa) Palmer, his children; Andrew Hunt (Amy) Palmer and Anne Palmer (Dan)Wilson, his 8 grandchildren; Gerry (Heather), Morgan, Jonah, Annie, Sofia, Josephine, Elijah, and Abraham, and his sister Quimby (Mark) Mahoney. He was preceded in death by his mother Blanche Hunt Palmer, his father; Percival Bowditch Palmer III, and his brother Bradley (Judy) Palmer.

Nate grew up in Hinsdale, Illinois with an amazing community that surrounded he and his siblings with joy and love. He graduated from Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts and went on to graduate from Dartmouth College. Deerfield and Dartmouth were both places that made Nate beam with pride. He cherished the education and the relationships he established while there. He was often seen wearing “Dartmouth Green”.

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A retired United States Air Force Captain, Nate spent some of his service time in South Korea on an island known as Paengnyong-Do. We often heard stories and life lessons from the time he spent in Korea and his time serving his country helped shape his life’s principle of “contentment”. After his service he started his career in sales beginning with Sunbeam and eventually running the family business, Illinois FWD Truck and Equipment Company.

After his first encounter with cancer in 1999, Nate retired and decided to spend the rest of his life making family and community his priority. Nate was happiest when helping others. He often volunteered at the local elementary school, or drove friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers to cancer treatment appointments. He adored attending his grandchildren’s sporting events and other activities. One of his favorite pastimes was driving his 1930 Model A in local parades and hanging out with his Whidbey Island Model A Club buddies.

Nate influenced all of us in big and small ways. He is known for teaching us all how to have a “firm handshake while looking people directly in the eye”. He exuded class and felt most comfortable in his sport coat and tie. He loved kites, remote control planes and boats, corn on the cob, reading, sailing, black coffee, raisin toast, the Chicago Bears, Jamaica, old cars, jets, and apple pie. He was proud to be an American, a Palmer, a brother, a husband, a father, and a grandfather.

In a small entry for a Deerfield reunion Nate described himself as being “inside proud” and remembered headmaster Boyden’s words “Be worthy of your heritage”, which he said made him try harder. Nathan Hunt Palmer has left an incredible legacy of humility and hard work. He will be missed every day.

There will be no services, however, if you would like to honor Nate, make sure your next handshake is firm and always remember to look people right in the eye.

A few of Nate’s favorite organizations:

Originally published at on August 4, 2016.

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