Palmer—Patricia Boughton Palmer, 82, on December 24, 2015, in St. Augustine, Fla., surrounded by her family. Patricia was born on December 30, 1932, in Montclair, N.J., to Amy Boughton and Spencer Palmer, and grew up in Kingsport, Tenn. She graduated from Rockford College and earned a master’s in education from Boston University and a doctorate in counseling from the University of Rochester. She married Antoine A. Nassar, of Beirut, Lebanon, and raised four children in Albion and Brockport, N.Y., where she was acting director of the Counseling Center at SUNY Brockport and associate director of its Mature Adult Program. She also practiced psychotherapy privately in Rochester, N.Y.
She attended Rochester (N.Y.) Meeting, where she especially ministered to the spiritual needs of those with debilitating and terminal illness. She served as Habitat for Humanity board chair; worked in community development for the Peace Corps in Bulgaria; and in Orleans County, N.Y., directed the Mental Health Association Chapter and the first local Head Start program. In 2006, after moving to Tucson, Ariz., to be closer to her children and grandchildren, she found her spiritual homes at Pima Meeting in Tucson and at the Tucson Upaya Sangha Zen Buddhist fellowship. A vital and loved presence in Pima Meeting, which she joined in 2009, she was a trustee in 2012–15, served in 2009–15 on the Ministry and Oversight Committee, and helped to draft the Policies and Procedures for Keeping Children Safe. In Tucson she served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children and facilitated the Elder Circle community. In 2012, she cofounded the Hekademos Mind-Body Medicine Foundation, which teaches cognitive behavioral therapy and tools and techniques to access nature’s healing powers in South Africa, the Netherlands, and Tucson.
Patricia was photogenic, as can be seen in a dramatic shot of her skydiving at 81, and she was frequently behind the camera. She patiently convinced many members and attenders at Pima Meeting to sit and smile for the camera as she helped compile a picture supplement to the meeting directory. The memories of Patricia’s wisdom, warmth, and light will continue to sustain Friends.
She once said that giving attention to feelings without judgement is always transforming. Her legacy of loving service endures in the lives of all who were blessed to know her. For over 40 years she worked with people dealing with life-threatening illness, especially cancer. She herself underwent treatment during several bouts of cancer, the last of which led to her death a week before her eighty-third birthday.
Patricia’s parents; sister, Audrey Moore; and brother, John Palmer, died before her. She is survived by four children, Spencer Nassar (Leann), Peter Nassar (Shannon Leu), David Palmer (Jasmin), and Jennifer Dohr (Rick); a sister-in-law, Nancy Palmer; seven grandchildren; and six beloved nieces and nephews.