Wilbur Herbert “Webb” Palmer, 80, of Derry died Sept. 27, 2016 at the Elliot Hospital, Manchester, after a period of declining health.
He was born in Derry on Dec. 10, 1935, a son of the late John M. Palmer Sr. and Florence (Dougan) Palmer, and was a lifelong resident.
He was a 1953 graduate of Pinkerton Academy in Derry and of the Thompson School of Agriculture in 1955. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in agriculture at the University of New Hampshire in 1959, and UNH awarded him his Master’s degree in Agricultural Education in 1969.
He served three years with the U.S. Marine Corps and 35 years in the U.S. Army Reserves, retiring as Lieutenant Colonel.
He was employed as a Vocational Agriculture teacher at Colebrook Academy in Colebrook and at Alvirne High School, Hudson. He was a general science teacher in the Hudson School District and in later years was the Vocational Director at Alvirne High School.
For over 20 years he worked out the plans, details, and funding to bring to fruition his dream of providing expanded vocational education opportunities for Alvirne’s students through hands-on experiences. He wrote a grant to the State Department of Education; legislation was written and the bill to provide $6.3 million for construction of the vocational center passed in Concord. Construction began in April 1991; the center opened in September 1992, and a formal dedication was held in January 1993. The Town of Hudson by unanimous vote named the facility the Wilbur H. Palmer Vocational Technical Center in honor of his dedication to Hudson’s students.
He is survived by his wife, Marjorie “Marge” Palmer of Derry; his son, David Palmer and his wife, Paula, of Concord; his daughter, Melissa Polk of Derry; four grandchildren, Danielle and Jessica Palmer and Ashlynn and Rebecca Polk; three step-grandchildren, Keeley, Raenor and Levi; two step-great-grandchildren; two nieces and two nephews. He was predeceased by his brother, John M. Palmer Jr.
Calling hours were Oct. 3 in the Peabody Funeral Homes and Crematorium, 290 Mammoth Road, Londonderry. Private burial will be in Forest Hill Cemetery, East Derry. The public is invited to a celebration of his life, followed by a reception, on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 1 p.m. at Alvirne High School’s gymnasium, Route 102, Hudson. To send a condolence or for more information, visit www.peabodyfuneralhome.com.
Memorial donations may be made for scholarships to the Wilbur Palmer Scholarship Fund, c/o Alvirne High School, 200 Derry Road, Hudson, NH 03051 or New Hampshire FFA Foundation, 295 Sheep Davis Road, Concord, NH 03301, or Educational Foundation of AGR, c/o David Bronson, 5 Vanessa Lane, Stratham, NH 03883.