Willis K. Palmer, 90, welder for Bethlehem Steel

May 08, 2006

Willis K. Palmer, a retired welder and former Dundalk resident, died of Parkinson's disease Wednesday at his home in Centreville, Queen Anne's County. He was 90.

Mr. Palmer was born and raised in Coatesville, Pa. After graduating from high school in 1934, he moved to Dundalk to work as a welder at Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Sparrows Point plant. He retired in 1978.

"At Sparrows Point, he was known as the Michelangelo of welding," said his daughter, Sandra M. Kessler of Marietta, Ga.

Mr. Palmer attended the Johns Hopkins University, and he lived in Dundalk for 68 years before moving to Centreville in 2002.

He was a member of the Sparrows Point Country Club, where he enjoyed swimming, playing bridge and pinochle, and dining with family and friends.

Mr. Palmer, who was an avid vegetable and flower gardener, also liked traveling by ship, especially aboard the Queen Elizabeth II.

Mr. Palmer was interested in genealogy and had traced his family to the Palmers, who settled in Pennsylvania in the 1680s.

"He also had family antiques from this period," his daughter said.

Services were held Saturday.

Also surviving are his wife of 67 years, Marjorie May Palmer; two sons, Robert K. Palmer of Silver Spring and Keith Palmer of Centreville; a sister, Peggy Cummons of Coatesville; eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

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