Nancy M. Palmer
June 28, 1932 – November 12, 2020
On November 12, 2020, Nancy Middlemiss Palmer, loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, died peacefully and surrounded by family in Arlington, Virginia at the age of 88. Nancy’s roots were in Brooklyn, and no matter where the family travels took her, she never lost her Brooklyn accent. She was born at St. Catherine’s Hospital in Brooklyn, New York on June 28, 1932. She was one of four children born to John F. Middlemiss, Sr., Esq. and Martha Riordan Middlemiss. After attending grammar school at St. Matthias, she went to Brooklyn’s St. Angela Hall Academy, where she served as editor of the school’s bimonthly Latin newsletter. She graduated with top honors from Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart in Purchase, New York with a dual degree in Education and English and received a Master’s Degree in English from St. John’s University in 1956. Nancy was an extraordinary teacher who took great joy in sharing her gifts with the youngest of students. Her first job was at P.S. 093 in Brooklyn. A unique aspect of her employment was that she worked in the same school with her mother and her sister, who were also school teachers. To avoid confusion, the students referred to the family educators as “Mrs. Middlemiss”, “Miss Middlemiss” and, to diminutive Nancy, “Little Miss Middlemiss”. Most of her career focused on teaching in elementary school. When her husband Warren’s military career took the family to distant places, Nancy found herself teaching students from all over the world, including Germany, Thailand and six different U.S. states. One of the most unusual experiences she had was teaching GED classes to soldiers in Germany in the 1950’s. Each of her students attended class in uniform, including rifles and steel M1 helmets. Her last teaching assignment was at Our Lady of Victory School in Northville, Michigan. In 2003, the Governor of Michigan issued a proclamation to Nancy in recognition of her 35 years of teaching and her special accomplishments in making education fun, increasing her students’ self-esteem and instilling in them a desire to learn. Nancy’s philosophy was that life should be lived with faith and humor. Her deep faith shaped her life. She was a tireless volunteer for the Church, working all over the world as a religious instructor to bring young people closer to Jesus and help them grow in their faith as Catholics. She especially loved teaching second grade students because it gave her the special opportunity to prepare them for the Sacrament of First Holy Communion. Her home photo albums are filled with pictures of Nancy and her First Communion students. She had a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, hosting the National Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima in her New Jersey home. With Warren, she helped to organize a traveling Eucharistic Miracle Exhibition at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Michigan. There was no Catholic school year that went by without Nancy’s original production of an All Saints’ Day play with every class student dressed as a Saint. Almost every family dinner was followed by a recitation of the rosary, with Nancy devoutly announcing the mysteries. Nancy was very proud of her Irish-American heritage. She loved Irish history and traditions. Her Irish ancestors included her immigrant grandmothers Isabelle Brannigan Riordan (Co.Tyrone), Elizabeth Tobin Middlemiss (Co. Wicklow) and her maternal grandfather Daniel Aloysius Riordan, who came to this country as an infant. Her Irish roots were celebrated in her graduate research papers as well as in her student’s annual St. Patrick’s Day plays. And, of course, no day went by without a strong cup of Irish tea. Nancy was loved by many and was blessed to have such a large circle of family and friends. Wherever she was, her laugh was instantly recognized. An accomplished player of the piano and cello, she loved music, and a piano was present at home and in almost every school homeroom where she worked. The greatest love of her life was Warren, her West Point cadet and her husband of 64 years. When both were in their first year of college, they met at a tea dance at the Catholic Chapel at West Point and were in love with each other for the next 70 years. Their nickname for each each other was “my OAO”, meaning “my one and only”. Together, they filled their home and lives with faith, love and joy. Nancy is survived by her husband, Warren Talmadge Palmer, their four children Martha (Cornelius) Rogers, Warren (Victoria) Palmer, Maureen (Joseph) Schafer and John Palmer, as well as 18 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren, all of whom Nancy loved deeply and all of whom loved their “Nana”. Funeral arrangements are private. A funeral Mass will be held in Virginia followed by interment at West Point. A celebration of Nancy’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory of Nancy to a scholarship fund at Our Lady of Victory School in Northville, Michigan. The funds will be used to support a second grade student. Contributions may be made by sending checks made out to Our Lady of Victory at 133 Orchard Drive, Northville, MI 48167. Kindly put a notation in the check memo or an accompanying note indicating that the funds are in memory of Nancy M. Palmer/Tuition Assistance Program.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Nancy M. Palmer
Ann Marie Donnelly
November 27, 2020
Rest in peace, dear Nancy, my teacher mentor back at St. Augustine School in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Not only am I thankful for your nurturing love and kindness to me as a fellow teacher, but I love you for the respect and love you gave my three children who had you when they were in second grade. I especially remember your spirited laugh carried up to my third floor classroom from yours on the first floor. It helped brighten the days and encouraged the feeling that our school was a home and the people in it a family. We have never forgotten you.
Ann Marie Donnelly
November 18, 2020
Our thoughts and prayers are with Warren and family. Nancy taught our children at Our Lady of Victory, Northville Michigan. She was a wonderful teacher and person. So many of her students came back as teenagers and young adults to chat with Mrs. Palmer and give her a hug. Nancy blessed all of us with her deep devotion to educating children. She shared her love of the Catholic faith with all and was often found leading the praying of the rosary for those in need. Later in life, a group of Our Lady of Victory families enjoyed dinners with Nancy and Warren at Fr. Terry Kerner’s rectory in Dearborn. Our dear Mrs. Palmer is watching over all of us as an angel in Heaven. Sending our wishes to the family for their peace and healing. 🙏🙏🙏 The John Olis Family
November 15, 2020
I have had Mrs Palmer on my mind this week, wondering how she and Mr Palmer have been doing. My three children were so blessed to have had her and her sidekick, Mrs Brandt at OLV. Who else would have made sure they understood the levels of relics? Who else would have taught them the joys of being a member of the Catholic Church? She was the most lovable teacher I ever met. I know she is
Celebrating being in Heaven with Jesus,
Mary, Joseph and all the Saints today. They are lucky to have her home.
November 15, 2020
I met Nancy at Cedarbrook in Plymouth, Michigan. She was a wonderful and loving lady. I will be praying for Warren & the family.