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Elmer Hall Palmer was born on a snowy Christmas morning at home on Alpha Road, in Dorchester, Mass. He attended schools in Dorchester and Public Latin School in Boston. His family moved to Cranston after the 1938 Hurricane, which did extensive damage to properties of his father Earl. He graduated from Cranston High School and began a term at the Rhode Island School of Design in the Textile Engineering Department. In 1944 he enlisted at 17 years of age in the United States Navy and went to U.S. Naval Training (boot) Camp at Samson, N.Y. He was then sent to Link Training School in Atlanta. After graduation, he was sent to Charlestown Naval Air Station while waiting for an opening in the V5 program of pilot training for which he had passed an exam. As the war was then winding down, he accepted the choice of discharge and returned to civilian status using the G.I. Bill to return to RISD majoring in textile engineering.
In his 94 years, Elmer grew to be a wonderful man, husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. His steadfast love will continue in his wife of 73 memorable years, Anne D. (Foster) Palmer; his seven children: Elizabeth “Betsy” Derrick (Donald) of Hanover, N.H.; Carol Readey (John) of East Greenwich; Deana Dolan of Exeter; Alice Janet Bliss (David) of North Kingstown; Barbara Bogosian (Paul) of Warwick; Nancy Phillips (Charlie) of East Greenwich, and Richard Leslie Hall Palmer (Judy) of North Kingstown; 16 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. He is predeceased by his brother Earl Sweet Palmer Jr. (Maxine), formerly of East Greenwich.
Elmer had had a rather busy life. In addition to raising with his wife a family of seven children, he was active in many fraternal, heritage and business societies. To wit:
Youth accomplishments: Children of the American Revolution, Massachusetts; Boy Scouts of America, 3rd Cranston-Life Scout-Senior Patrol Leader; Demolay, Fidelity Chapter-Preceptor Chevalier-Legion of Honor; International Supreme Council-Executive Officer; R.I. Active Member-Emeritus Member; Alumni Association-Charter #54; R.I. Preceptory DeMolay Legion of Honor, Past President.
Masonic accomplishments: F&AM – Harmony Lodge #9 Cranston, R.I. – Worshipful Master, 1977 & St. Johns Lodge #1 Providence, R.I.; R.A.M. – Harmony Chapter #15 Cranston Excellent High Priest; 1960 R.I. Convention Anointed High Priests; R. & S.M.- Doric Council #7 Cranston – Thrice Illustrious Master, 1965 Council of Anointed Kings of Conn. & R.I.; K.T.- St. John’s Commandery #1 Providence, RI Eminent Commander, 1963 Honorary Life Member, Commanderies #8, 10, 11 and 51; Presiding Council Club Knights Templar-President, 1962 MA & RI Association of K.T. Commanders, Grand Commandery Knights Templar, MA & RI Right Eminent Grand Commander, 1971 Trustee Grand Fund 1994; Honorary Member, Grand Commandery of Vt.; Grand Encampment Knights Templar, U.S.A. – Knight Commander of Temple; Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests – Damascus Tabernacle XXVI; Red Cross of Constantine, Plantations of Conclave – Puissant Sovereign, 1977; Knights York Cross of Honour, Roger Williams Priory #48; Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Providence-Sovereign Prince; Supreme Council, N.M.J., U.S.A. – Coronated 33rd Degree – Active Member for R.I.; A.A.O.N.M.S., Palestine Temple-Marhaba Shrine Club; Court #71 ROJ; M.O.V.P.E.R., Moslem Grotto; Knight Masons of New England, Colonial Council #19; Royal Order of Scotland; Sword of Bunker Hill, Gaspee Order #99; National Sojourners, Narragansett Bay Chapter #14; Masonic Veterans Association of R.I.
Militia accomplishments: Kentish Guards, R.I.M. 1774 – Commandant, 1980-1986, Trustee; Continental Marines R.I.M. 1775 – Sloop Providence
Genealogical Accomplishments: R.I. Genealogical Society, Founding Life Member; R.I. Historical Society; New England Historic Genealogical Society; Stonington, Conn., Historical Society; Wequetequock Burying Ground Association; Cocumscussoc Association (Richard Smith, Gilbert [Gysbert Op Den Dyke] Updike).
Heritage Accomplishments: SONS of AMERICAN REVOLUTION, John Peck Rathbun Chapter #4- Past Governor; RI S.A.R. STATE SOCIETY-Past Governor-National Trustee-Life Member; FOUNDERS and PATRIOTS of AMERICA, RI Society-Past Governor, Past Deputy Secretary General. F.F.R.I. & P.P.-First Families of RI & Providence Plantations, Life Member- Governor General 1997-1998 (18 proven lines) viz. Roger Williams, William Hutchinson, John Coggshell, Samuel Gorton, Jermeiah/Jeremy Clarke, Surgeon John Green, William Arnold, Stukey Wescott, Capt. Samuel Wilbur, William Almy, Richard Carder, William Corey, Ralph Earle, Thomas Lawton, Adam Mott, George Gardiner, Walter Palmer, Richard Smith. National Gavel Society-Life Member; Society of Descendants of the Founders of Hartford, Life Member (Thomas Lord); Sons and Daughters of the Colonial Clergy, Life Member (Reverend Walt Palmer); Descendants of Colonial Tavern Keepers, Life Member (Samuel Cole, Richard Smith); Society of Colonial Wars (Nehemiah Palmer); Baronial Order of Magna Charta, Life Member; Society of Mayflower Descendants (Stephen Hopkins, Thomas Rogers); Roger Williams Society, Life Member; Surgeon John Greene Society, Life Member, Past Treasurer; Walter Palmer Society, Life Member WP#L-President 1981; Denison Society, Life Member; Thomas Stanton Society, Life Member; and Rev. John Crandall Society, Life Member.
Business & Civic Associations: Squantum Association President 1985-1988; East Greenwich Veterans Firemen’s Club, Life Member, and 100 Club of Rhode Island.
Calling hours for Elmer will take place at Carpenter-Jenks Funeral Home, 659 East Greenwich Ave., West Warwick, on Friday, Sept. 24, from 4 to 7 p.m., immediately followed with a Masonic Service at 7 p.m. All other services will be private.
Should friends desire, donations in his name may be made to Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island, 1085 North Main St., Providence, R.I. 02904; hopehealthri.org.
Condolences may be left at carpenterjenks.com.