Bill (Willard Ernest) Palmer, 65

Bill (Willard Ernest) Palmer passed away on February 27, 2022. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on leap year day February 29, 1956.  He was known as Bill or Coach Palmer to almost everyone. His father Willard senior was a pioneer in uranium processing. He was also known for his ability to fix almost anything. His mother, Ernestine (Harber) Palmer was an excellent cook whose eclairs could not be surpassed.

Bill attended Crosby Elementary and Harrison High School in Ohio where he excelled in athletics, setting the 120-yard hurdles record, playing center on the championship basketball team, and earning all-league and all-Cincinnati football honors. He received a full football scholarship to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio starting for 3 years as an outside linebacker on winning teams in two conference championships and a Tangerine Bowl win over South Carolina.  Many of his best and longest-lasting friendships were forged during his college years.

After leaving college, Bill visited every mainland state in the U.S. living in his van and supporting his adventures by working various jobs: from delivering cars to remote mountain retreats in Colorado to picking oranges in Florida. In Greensboro, NC he paused his travels and attended classes at UNCG.  His job as a bartender at the popular restaurant – Romberg’s led him to be noticed by the love of his life and wife of 38 years, Emily Barnes.
With Emily’s support and encouragement, Bill resumed his education at NC A&T State University, graduating cum laude with a degree in Electrical Engineering. A job with TVA brought the couple to Tennessee and eventually to Norris where sons Dylan and Ethan Palmer were born. They are the joy of Bill & Emily’s lives.

For over 20 years Bill ran an engineering contracting business. His work often took him and the family around the world. Memorable trips include Vancouver, BC; Denmark; Spain, and China. He and the family lived for extended 2 months to 1 year periods in Seattle, WA; Racine, WI; Toledo, Ohio, and Ottawa, Canada, culminating in a two-year stay in Aix en Provence, France where Bill worked on the international ITER project.  Often accompanied by family or friends, Bill & Emily traveled throughout France and to neighboring countries.  A significant adventure was the Misty Fields outdoor music festival in the Netherlands to see Dylan’s band – Faux Ferocious perform.

Over the years, Bill coached many of his sons’ recreational soccer, baseball and basketball teams, but his greatest pleasure was coaching track and field. While his sons were students at Norris Middle, Bill resumed the school’s track and field program.  He then coached at Anderson County High volunteering for several more years even after his sons had graduated. The coaching stints included sectional championships and a runner-up finish at the 2008 TN State Championship. Both coaching positions allowed him to interact with outstanding student-athletes and their parents.

Bill retired in 2021 to pursue trout fishing, tending his blueberry grove, gardening, and numerous household and yard projects.

Bill is predeceased by his parents and sister Carolyn Gibbons. He is survived by his wife, sons, and his sisters Deborah Cloe and Phyllis (Carl) Cromer. 

Date and time for his Celebration of Life party will be announced at a later date. www.holleygamble.com

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