Gary David Palmer

Obituary for Gary David Palmer

January 8, 1942 - March 23, 2022
Gretna, Nebraska | Age 80

Gary David Palmer, Beloved Father, Brother & Friend


Gary David Palmer, age 80, died Thursday, March 23, 2022 in Omaha. Gary was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Carole, brothers Art and Owen, and sisters Marla and Diane. Sister Carol Helsing also died this week.

Memorial Service: 10am - Saturday - March 26, 2022
Roeder Mortuary, Inc. – Gretna Chapel
11710 Standing Stone – Gretna, NE

Gary was born in Lincoln - sixth of eight children of Arthur Franklin and Abbie (Housel) Palmer - on January 8, 1942. Gary grew up on the Palmer homestead a few miles west of Davey, attending District 55 country school. After moving to Lincoln, the four youngest Palmers attended NE HS, where Gary participated in football and track, graduating in 1959.

Following UNL graduation in 1964, Gary served in the Peace Corps in India, then returned stateside to teach high school in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, where he met and married the love of his life, Carole Gerke. In July 1966, Gary joined the Seabees Navy Construction Battalion with his friend Glen Rolofson, serving until July 1968, including several months in Chu Lai, Vietnam.

Returning home, Gary taught and/or coached in several high schools, among them: Stevens Point, Wisconsin; Brainard, Nebraska; Clark Fork, Idaho and Sandpoint, Idaho. Teaching in Idaho from 1977, Gary enjoyed summers working in restaurant kitchens, and his family and friends delighted in his enthusiasm and culinary skills for decades thereafter. For six years, Gary also contributed articles and photos to the Sandpoint Daily Bee.

Eventually, Gary was hired to teach high school in US Department of Defense Dependent Schools serving military families abroad, so in 1983, he and Carole moved, with their four school-age sons, to Bad Kreuznach, Germany, where he taught until his retirement. In addition to teaching art, Gary coached winning football teams that competed with other DODD Schools throughout Europe: the Bearcats were Benenor Conference Champions in 1988; A Central Conference Champs 1989-90; winners of the Small School Semifinals in 1990, and Champion of the Small School Conference in 1992.

In 2003, Gary and Carole retired to Lincoln, living in Bethany until Carole's death in 2005, at age 59.

Gary is survived by four sons: Chris Palmer of Idaho; Brett (MaryAnn) Palmer of Massachusetts; Jason (Sabine) Palmer of Germany; Brandon (Jen) Palmer, of Nebraska; and seven grandchildren. Gary will be missed by his sister, Harriet Reubsamen; his brother, James (Pamela); many nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family members; as well as a host of friends who were his coworkers or students.

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