Rodney's Story

HOULTON - Rodney C. Palmer, 96, of Houlton, Maine, died Feb. 28 in St. Petersburg, Florida. He was born Aug. 22, 1919, in Island Falls, Maine, the son of Kenneth and Pearle Bryant Palmer.

Rod was an accountant who practiced in Houlton until three years ago and a lifelong musician. He is survived by his wife, Janice Robinson Palmer, and two children, Susan and her husband Daniel Haney, and Kent and his wife Dorothy Benn Palmer, as well as three grandsons, Joshua, Christopher and Nicholas Palmer, and four great-grandchildren.

He grew up in Island Falls and graduated from Island Falls High School and Ricker Junior College. He began his career working for the Paul Jackins potato brokerage and started his private accounting and tax practice in Houlton in 1952. Rod represented clients before the Internal Revenue Service as an Enrolled Agent. He was a cofounder of Houlton's first cable television system and the Houlton Federal Credit Union.

Rod was an accomplished musician who played piano, trumpet, flute and trombone. Starting at age 14 and through high school, he played with Ronald Martin's dance band in Island Falls. In the 1940s, he formed the Rodney Palmer Band, a jazz and swing combo that played throughout northern Maine at dance halls, proms, weddings and other events. He arranged music and played with other Houlton musicians throughout his life. He was the oldest member of McGill's Community Band, where he played trombone.

He was an early member of the Houlton Lions Club, a member of Monument Lodge of Masons, and a long-time member of the Houlton Rotary Club, which recognized him as a Paul Harris Fellow. Rod enjoyed going to camp at Nickerson Lake. He loved to sail, fly fish for trout and pick fiddleheads.

Rod is also survived by his brother, Malcolm, of Island Falls, and many nephews and nieces. He was predeceased by his sister, Maurine Emerson, and brother Kirk Palmer.

A memorial gathering will be held in the spring. Gifts in Rod's memory may be made to the Cary Library, 107 Main St., Houlton, Maine 04730.
Published in Bangor Daily News
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