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Memorials: Pima Monthly Meeting

Patricia Palmer

Date of birth

Dec. 30, 1932

Date of death

Dec. 24, 2015


Pima Monthly Meeting

Memorial minute

Patricia was born on December 30th, 1932, to Spencer and Amy Boughton Palmer and was raised in Kingsport, Tennessee. Patricia wedded Dr. Antoine A. Nassar of Beirut, Lebanon, and raised four children in Albion and Brockport, New York. She earned a doctorate in counseling from the University of Rochester in addition to degrees from Boston University (MEd.) and Rockford College (B.A.).

For over forty years Patricia worked with people dealing with a life-threatening illness, especially cancer. Patricia underwent treatment during several bouts with cancer.  The last of these led to her death on December 24, 2015 a week before her 83d birthday.

She served with the Simonton Cancer Center (California) as a senior teacher and director of training. In 2012, she co-founded the Hekademos Mind-Body Medicine Foundation offering programs, counseling, and education in South Africa, the Netherlands, and Tucson. Hekademos teaches tools and techniques to help people access the self-healing powers of nature and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Prior work included a private psychotherapy practice (Rochester), Acting Director of the Counseling Center SUNY Brockport, Associate Director of its Mature Adult Program and Founding Director of Orleans County’s (NY) first Headstart Program and Mental Health Association Chapter.

Patricia devoted countless years to the volunteer organizations she held most dear: serving as Board Chair for Habitat for Humanity (Rochester), working in community development for the Peace Corps (Bulgaria), serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children (Tucson) and serving as a facilitator in the Elder Circle community (Tucson). Patricia’s legacy of loving service endures in the lives of all who were blessed to have known her.

Spiritually, Patricia sought and gave enrichment through the Religious Society of Friends.  She was an attender of long standing at the Rochester (NY) Monthly Meeting. There she ministered to the spiritual needs of many, especially those faced with debilitating and terminal illness.  Rochester Meeting also provided a clearness committee for Patricia when she grappled with her leading to become a Peace Corps volunteer.  In 2006, after moving to Tucson to be closer to her children and grandchildren, she found her spiritual homes at Pima Monthly Meeting and at the Tucson Upaya Sangha, a Zen Buddhist fellowship. Patricia became a member of PMM in September 2009 and was a Trustee from 2012 to 2015. Patricia served on the Ministry and Oversight Committee from 2009 till 2015 where she provided counsel, wisdom and compassion in support of individuals and issues as they arose. She was instrumental in drafting our Policies and Procedures for Keeping Children Safe and was a vital and loved presence in the life of the meeting.

Patricia was photogenic, as can be seen in a dramatic shot of her skydiving at 81, and she was frequently behind the camera taking fine pictures.  She patiently convinced many members and attenders at PMM to sit and smile for the camera as she helped compile a Picture Supplement to the Pima Meeting Directory.

Patricia is survived by her four children: Spencer (Leann) Nassar; Peter (Shannon Leu) Nassar; David (Jasmin) Palmer and Jennifer (Rick) Dohr, her sister-in-law, Nancy Palmer, seven grandchildren and six beloved nieces and nephews. Her parents, her sister, Audrey Moore, and her brother, John Palmer, preceded her in death.

A Celebration of Patricia’s Life was held at Pima Monthly Meeting on February 13, 2016.  It was attended by her large family, Meeting and spiritual friends from Tucson and friends and colleagues from near and far. The memories of Patricia’s wisdom, warmth and light will continue to sustain us in our community’s work and friendships.

"An astonishing truth:  Focused awareness and attention to feelings without judgment is always transforming - and always in a positive direction."    

Patricia Palmer