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Released Februrary 13, 2004

By David Tisdale

HATTIESBURG -- Dr. Jesse Palmer, a longtime professor in The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education, died Thursday at his home in the Oak Grove community after a lengthy illness. He was 53.

Services are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 14, at Immanuel Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, with interment at Highland Cemetery in Hattiesburg. Visitation will be from 5-8 p.m. today (Friday) at Moore Funeral Home Chapel in Hattiesburg.

Palmer served on the Southern Miss faculty for 17 years. He taught social studies education at the university, and served on the university's faculty senate, including as president. He was a member of Immanuel Baptist Church.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Palmer of Oak Grove; two daughters, Liz Palmer of Hattiesburg and Jessica Lee Palmer of Oak Grove; his parents, Bernice McCune and E.D. Bennett of Atlanta; a sister, Donna Wade of Atlanta; and a brother, Stephen Bennett of Atlanta.

"Dr. Palmer was a strong academician for the department and had many gifts and talents, both as a person and as a professor," said Dr. Dana Thames, chair of the Southern Miss Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education.

Palmer also served as adviser to the Southern Miss Student Education Association, Thames said. "He worked very hard to grow that program into a large student organization," she said.

Thames said Palmer was a talented musician, and was known for writing songs and playing them on his guitar at departmental birthday or retirement parties, among other special events. "He just had a big heart for his students and for all people," Thames said.

"He was a leader in every sense of the word, in terms of teaching and issues related to the faculty," said Southern Miss professor Dr. Myron Henry, who served with Palmer on the faculty senate. "This is a great loss to the university and its students, and to those who served with him on the faculty. We are saddened by his passing, and his family is in our thoughts."

Southern Miss Adult Education professor Dr. John Rachal described Palmer as a strong advocate for the university's faculty, and popular among his colleagues. "He was a genuinely nice man, always courteous, cordial…he never met a stranger," Rachal said.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Jessica Lee Palmer College Fund at Union Planters Bank in Hattiesburg.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM