Betty Ellen (Hays) Palmer passed away on March 3, 2018. She was born on August 13, 1933 at home on the family farm four miles southwest of Thompson, IA. She was the third (middle) of five children born to Mae and George Hays.
She spent her early years attending a country school, King #9, about a quarter mile from her home. She walked to school along with her siblings.
She attended high school in Thompson, transported day and night by a school bus. The routes were long, so it meant boarding the bus by 7:30 a.m.
She graduated in 1951 and then attended Waldorf College of Forest City, IA, earning a degree in Elementary Education.
She began her career teaching at a country school a few miles from home. It closed the following year, so she moved on to the schools of Radcliffe, IA, teaching second grade for some time before moving on to Nevada, IA to teach various grades.
She spent summers attending school for extra credit. It was at Utah State University in Logan, UT where she met and married the love of her life, Jerald Palmer of Monticello, UT. He had recently returned from Korea.
They married in 1957 in her hometown Methodist church of Thompson, IA. To this union were born two children, Ellen and Dwayne.
Making a decision to better themselves, the family moved in 1965 to Billings, MT, where Jerry obtained a teaching degree.
They both taught around Eastern Montana, later settling in Choteau, MT, where they began teaching the physically and mentally handicapped.
Betty retired in 1996, so they could take in their grandson to raise. In 1998, they retired on their property north of Monticello.
She honored her love of books by working at the San Juan County Library. She most enjoyed helping young children discover the wonder of reading.
Jerry passed away in 2003. Wanting to honor the wishes of her husband, she set about organizing a committee to secure some kind of monument to honor those who served after World War II.
It was finally completed in November of 2005 and can be seen at the southwest corner of Veterans Park. It was something she was very proud of, always giving credit to her hard working committee.
She was a member of San Juan Community Church, serving both before and after returning in 1998. She also served for many years as a hospice volunteer, providing comfort for many local families.
She continued to live alone on her property, always trying to improve it to the best of her abilities. Even a broken hip did not slow her down very long, as she kept trying to clean her fence row of sagebrush and overgrown trees so the fence could be repaired.
Betty is survived by her children, Ellen Cantrell of Monticello (and her three step-children, Chris, Casey and Cody) and Dwayne (Nancy) Palmer and grandson Ryan Palmer, all of which reside in Monticello, siblings Helen (Ed) Southard of Clarion, IA; Leone Leavitt of Shell, WY; and Dorothy of Des Moines, IA.
She is preceded in death by her husband, parents, sons-in-law Don Singer and Don Cantrell; brother Harold; brothers-in-law Bob, husband of Dorothy, and Bill, first husband of Helen, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Cremation has taken place according to her wishes. A Memorial service will be held March 17, 2018 at the Community Church in Monticello at 11 a.m.