Richardson-Gaffey Funeral Home

382 First Parish Road, Scituate, MA


Anne Palmer

July 21, 1959July 5, 2020

Anne Catherine (Sullivan) Palmer Obituary

Knowing that surfing conditions were prime, Anne (Sullivan) Palmer, her sons, and their friends raced down to a Scituate, Massachusetts beach to catch as many waves as they could before a thunderstorm rolled through. A self-proclaimed beach bum, Anne loved the ocean in all its forms – from reading on a sunny day to chasing storms and shooting photos.

After living fully with cancer for eight years, the nearly life-long Scituate resident passed away peacefully on July 5, 2020, with her family holding her hands. Anne, 60, had a strong, deep faith and was guided by the “Serenity Prayer” since her teens, when she earned the nickname “Smiley.” She lived her faith by example, frequently saying “God’s driving the bus” and anything is possible with God.

She and her husband Jeff began dating when Anne was 20, and their life was a true love story, starting off in the college cafeteria when Jeff threw a dinner roll at Anne and she caught it and hurled it back. When first married, Anne and Jeff volunteered with their church for marriage preparation counseling, and throughout their lives together, they showed what a good marriage and partnership looks like.

Advancing cancer prevented them from taking a planned RV trip to see family and friends in the Midwest, but in typical Anne fashion, she made the best of it: she and Jeff celebrated their 35th anniversary instead with a brief trip to the Adirondacks. She often said cancer had been a blessing because it introduced her to people she wouldn’t have met otherwise and allowed her to inspire others.

Anne, who earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Wisconsin, attended all her sons’ sporting events in high school and college, as well as those of her nieces and nephews, traveling around the North East. Anne’s devotion to family made her the glue that held them together. She helped organize several family reunions, reconnecting long-lost relatives and developing deep relationships with first and second cousins. She could usually be spotted behind the camera capturing memories. Right up until the end, she sent get-well cards, encouraging texts and emails to loved ones. Anne was a multi-sport and fiercely competitive college athlete who brought her competitive edge to family card games as much as she did to athletics. A full-time mom while raising her three sons, she got up at 4:30 a.m. to run and reflect before facing the demands of the day. She volunteered for several years as the Scituate Soccer Club president and as a board member and co-founded the Scituate Education Association.

Anne learned she had breast cancer on June 22, 2012. When her doctor asked her if she wanted her husband to be with her, Anne said it was their wedding anniversary and she didn’t want him to remember their anniversary that way.

After completing chemo treatment, she ran a half-marathon, her third of the year. She wanted to continue to give back to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute after completing her treatment, and, inspired by her son’s 24-hour longboarding race, the Miami Ultra Skate, started training. In January of 2013, she skateboarded for 24 straight hours on a NASCAR track, pushing through the night and praying for all those she and her family knew afflicted with cancer. For seven years, longboarding became one of her main passions, providing an avenue to travel and make new friends. After nearly five years in remission, Anne developed metastatic breast cancer in December 2017. Nonetheless, she completed the Ultra Skate for another three years. She raced all over the country and was known for her smile, encouragement of others and tenacious spirit. She inspired many other riders, especially women, and raised more than $30,000 for Dana-Farber. Equally as important to her were the hundreds of friends she made and countless memories she shared on her skating adventures.

Before cancer, Anne was a private person, but she shared her story to encourage others to live life fully. She and her son, Kevin, also a cancer survivor, gave media interviews for the Jimmy Fund fundraisers for Dana-Farber. A lifelong Red Sox fan, she threw out the first pitch at Fenway Park in 2018. She joked easily and loved unconditionally. She made connections with strangers wherever she went. After she finished chatting with someone, her kids would ask, “Mom, do you know them?” Anne responded, “I do now.”

Anne embraced life fully – traveling to South Africa, Italy and Ireland; skiing in Utah, Colorado and California, even this past winter. On a whim in 2004, she drove with her two oldest sons to Toronto to see a Red Sox game. Anne coordinated a five-week, cross-country family road trip on Route 20 one summer when the boys were in elementary school.

An analyst in the accounts payable/receivable department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, in 2018 she won the company’s Excellence in Service Award for her work in support of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and RFK Children’s Action Corps. She taught her school-age sons about the value of service, challenging them to raise money for charity by giving up TV for a year. Two of them served in the Peace Corps and the third works for a nonprofit.

Long before getting cancer, Anne wrote to a niece, “You can worry about everything or you can live life like it is your last day. As I have said a million times: Every day is a gift from God; do your best to enjoy it.”

She lived by those words. In her final hours, Jeff leaned toward her face and said, “I love you” and joked, “Do you love me?” Anne replied, “I am blessed.”

She was predeceased by her father, Paul J. Sullivan and her older brother, Kevin Sullivan. In addition to her husband, Jeff, Anne is survived by her sons Kevin, of Scarborough, Maine; Eric, of Bellingham, Washington; and Brian, of Cape Town, South Africa; her mother, Theresa (Demeo) Sullivan, of Scituate; five siblings, John Sullivan (Una Armstrong), of Scituate; Theresa Sullivan Barger (Glenn Barger), of Canton, Connecticut; Mark Sullivan, of Craig, Colorado; Brian Sullivan (Annie Kelly); and Bill Sullivan, both of Scituate; and 12 nieces and nephews.

Because of COVID-19 concerns, the family has canceled the visitation originally planned for Thursday, July 16, 2020 at Richardson-Gaffey Funeral Home, Scituate. The funeral Mass at St. Anthony’s Church in Cohasset, on Friday, July 17, at 11 a.m., will be private because of the pandemic, but it will be live-streamed via YouTube, at https://bit.ly/304V2ak and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/stanthonycohasset/

Here is a link to the parish’s YouTube and Instagram channels: YouTube: Christ by the Sea and Instagram: christbythesea To learn about COVID-19-safe practices to expect, here is a link to information on the church website. At a later date, when family and friends can gather safely, the family will plan a celebration of Anne’s life.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in memory of Anne C. Palmer to support Run Any Race/metastatic breast cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284 or via https://bit.ly/2ZbqK6C or to the Flip Kick Skateboard program: www.gofundme.com/f/the-flip-kick-program or send used skateboarding/longboarding gear to 308 Fair Hill Dr., Elkton, MD 21921


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Anne Palmer

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jessamyn Martin

July 21, 2020

Anne was one of those rare people that comes into your orbit by chance and then spins you around so completely in a way you weren't expecting so that you're never quite exactly the same as before. I knew her only over the past few years, but her impact on me is something that will last my lifetime. The positivity, the grace, the compassion and the instantaneous friendship she offered - all quite sacred gifts in this world - I consider myself blessed to have been a witness and beneficiary of them. My heart grieves and joins in the sorrow of most primarily her beautiful and amazing family of whom I know she was so proud and all the countless others whose lives she touched, if with nothing more than her infectious smile! She will be dearly, dearly missed.

Jeff Capen

July 18, 2020

Forever proud to be a Sailor because of awesome people like Anne, and the surrounding family she influenced with the same. I am a speck on Anne's path, but she was a rock for me. I felt welcome and validated from the first time I met her. I hope time replaces sorrow with serenity, and pain with pleasant memories.

Coach Capen

Jeanne Singer

July 17, 2020

Prayers for you and your family!
Anne welcomed a new kid a long time ago who never forgot her kindness.
Love to all the family.

Margie Horne

July 17, 2020

My sincere sympathy to all of Anne's family. Anne was the first friend I made in first grade @ Central School, it was her big bright smile that made the very shy (at the time) me seek her out. We went all thru school together, I loved sports but was hopelessly clumsy so I got my sports fix by watching Anne. She could play any sport and was super graceful. We did see each other here and there over the years and never was Anne without that beautiful smile. She touched so many lives. God Bless.

Marla & Richard Demien

July 17, 2020

There’s sorrow in our hearts as we greave the loss of Anne to our family.
Anne was an amazing woman, a true heroine. She was a vibrant example of love as she continued to live in faith and service. No one would have known her circumstances, with never a complaint. She lived each moment with zeal and an abundance of joy as she ran and skated the good race. Anne always lived her lot with grace and dignity❣️ Her smile and laugh were contagious. Anne was a witness to everyone who was blessed to meet her and know her. She will be remembered with love and missed by us all. Prayers continue for you all during this difficult time, for peace in your memories and times shared together!
With love- Mar, Dick, Jessica, Mike, Josh, Sarah, & Grands


July 17, 2020

My cousin Anne has always been there for my mother and my siblings. In the past when my mom and I flew out from Califirnia to visit my Aunt Teresa and Anne, she was always there to greet us at the airport. We loved that she would always take us out for the best lobster rolls and salt water taffy. The most recent thing that shows her true spirit was the visit she paid to my brother, Chris, who is recovering from a serious accident. She drove many hours from Massachusets to New York to represent our side of the family, and to help our sister-in-law Cindy.

Lucy Darragh

July 17, 2020

Dearest Jeff, Brian, Eric, and Kevin,

I am deeply sorry for your loss. Anne was beloved by so many of us at Blue Cross, and having her as a friend, mentor, and colleague was one of the greatest privileges of my life. Her smile shone so brightly, and her spirit was unwavering. May you find peace and solace in the profound love that she had for each of you.

In sympathy,


Krissy Anderson

July 17, 2020


My heart goes out to you and your family through this difficult time. I never had the opportunity to meet Anne, but I will forever cherish the beautiful card that I received from her, along with the email exchanges a few months back. She is and was such an inspiration, seemed so full of life, and exuded positivity and love. A true blessing to touch so many people's hearts....and make such a difference to so many people's lives.

May you find comfort in your memories, and strength, love, and support from your family, friends, and colleagues. You have gained an angel to watch over you and protect you.. May time help to heal your heart, and may God bless you today and always....


Tracy Kiddie

July 16, 2020

To Anne's family,

We are so sorry to hear about Anne's passing. She was an extraordinary woman who certainly lived her life to the fullest. What a great role model to selfless giving and bravery. Anne gave so much back to her community, and she will be missed. Scituate was blessed to have Anne as our neighbor.
With deepest sympathy,
Tracy Kiddie and family

Daniel Romenesko

July 16, 2020

From the time in 1980 when Jeff called me to say he had a girlfriend, I knew Anne would be a friend for life...and she was. Rest in Peace, my friend. You are loved.


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