Hon. Linwood E. Palmer, Jr., of Nobleboro and Dover-Foxcroft, passed away on July 24 at Mayo Memorial Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft surrounded by his loving family and caregivers. He was born in Nobleboro on Nov. 22, 1921, the son of Linwood E. Palmer and Harriette Mace Palmer.
Linwood graduated from Lincoln Academy, class of ’38 and received his B.A. degree from Colby College, class of ’42. He subsequently attended Andover-Newton Theological School and while there, served as Youth Director of the First Baptist Church of Boston and thereafter served as Pastor of both the First Baptist Church of Damariscotta and the First Baptist Church of Nobleboro. He entered the U.S. Army in 1944 during WWII and was honorably discharged in 1945.
He had a long and successful business career, entering the specialized steel manufacturing industry in the 1952 as a sales manager for Ward Steel Co. of Cambridge, Mass. and soon became Vice President and General Manager of that company and its successor, Peter A. Frasse & Co., Inc. headquartered in New York with several manufacturing facilities under his management in the eastern United States. During his tenure in the steel industry he maintained a close connection with his hometown, purchasing real estate for development and starting a well-known mid-coast Christmas tree farm known as “Holiday Acres” on West Neck Road in Nobleboro. Upon his retirement from the steel business he returned to Holiday Acres in Nobleboro to operate his development business and Christmas tree farm.
He was a well-respected Maine political figure whose career spanned four decades. He was first elected to Maine House of Representatives in l947 serving in the 93rd and 94th Legislatures. At age 24 he was the youngest member of the 93rd and at age 26 served as Assistant Majority Floor Leader in the 94th. In 1950 he was elected to the State Senate serving in the 95th Legislature and played a significant role, working closely with then Governor Frederick G. Payne, in up-grading the state’s highways at that time. After being out of public office during the 1960s he was again elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 1972, serving in the 104th, 105th, and 106th Legislatures and serving as a very popular House Minority Leader from 1974 to 1978. In 1978 he handily won the Republican nomination for Governor of Maine, but lost the general election in a three-way race. In 1980 he was selected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention and in 1984 chaired the Reagan-Bush re-election campaign in Maine. He was again a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1988. He was appointed by President George H. W. Bush to serve on the President s Council on Rural America. He also was appointed to the Maine Board of Environmental Protection.
During the 1980-90s he was employed as a consultant specializing in government affairs at both the state and federal levels for the Bangor based law firm of Eaton and Peabody, serving the firms clients in numerous industrial sectors.
He was very active in civic affairs serving many years as a Trustee of his alma mater, Lincoln Academy, in Newcastle. He was also a long time Trustee of Kieve-Wavus Affective Education in Nobleboro, which operates a well-known boys/girls camp on Damariscotta Lake. He was for many years a Deacon and Moderator of the First Baptist Church of Nobleboro, which stands next door to his childhood family home. Linwood served as trustee of the First Federal Savings Bank in Bath for several years. He played a key role in re-furbishing the Governor’s Mansion, known as the Blaine House, an extensive project that was done without using public funds.
Throughout his long career Linwood mentored many people. He also performed hundreds of marriage ceremonies and funerals for friends.
He was predeceased by his wife of 66 years, Zilpha G. “Bunny” Palmer on April 21 of this year, his parents, brothers Robert and Paul, and a sister Carolyn.
He is survived by a son, Linwood E. Palmer III and companion Norma of Nobleboro and his daughter Kendra Palmer of So. Portland; a daughter, Cartha P. Smith and husband State Senator Douglas M. Smith of Dover-Foxcroft and their two adult children Deron P. Smith of Bangor and Amy R. Smith of Hermon; daughter, Beth P. Smith and husband Dennis R. Smith of Sangerville and their children Erin and her husband Garrett Smith and their daughter Ella, Linwood’s special great granddaughter, Benjamin N. Smith of Bangor, Kaitlin P. Smith of Sangerville; granddaughter, Kendra Palmer of So. Portland; two sisters-in-law, Alice Scott and Elizabeth Palmer; and numerous nieces and nephews; and faithful and loving caregivers, Kelly Morin, Angel Stevens, Cathy Campbell, Terry Taylor, Cheryl Parkman, Julie Moonlight, Tanya Robinson, Sara Campbell, Sharon Nichols and Carol Wing.
Lin was a friend and inspiration to many. He had such a big heart and always gave unconditionally. He blessed us with his love for the Lord and all His creation. His strength, integrity, and sense of humor will certainly live on in all that knew and loved him. He will be greatly missed by all. Heaven has gained a beautiful soul.
Service to honor Linwood 2 p.m., Thurs., July 31 at the First Baptist Church of Nobleboro with Pastors Robert Wyand and James Colley officiating. After the service the family will receive friends at the Learning Center at Camp Kieve in Nobleboro. Linwood will be laid to rest beside his beloved wife in the Dunbar Cemetery in Nobleboro.
Gifts in memory of the Honorable Linwood E. Palmer, Jr. may be made to the First Baptist Church of Nobleboro, c/o Adney Peck, 85 Winslow Hill Rd., Nobleboro, ME 04555.
Arrangements are entrusted to the Strong Funeral Home and Cremation Center, 612 Main St., Damariscotta.