[Vision2020] Moscow loses a hero . . .

Moscow Cares moscowcares at moscow.com
Thu Sep 1 11:57:53 PDT 2016

Courtesy of the obituaries within today's (September 1, 2016) Moscow-Pullman Daily News.

Pamela Palmer, 63, of Moscow
Pamela "Pam" Palmer, 63, who enriched Moscow's civic, cultural and artistic life for more than three decades, died Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, in Walla Walla, Wash.

Pam, who served two terms on the Moscow City Council in the 1990s, had been diagnosed with colon cancer in 2013. She died surrounded by her three daughters and her sister on a day she had chosen to celebrate her mother's 90th birthday.

Pam was born May 20, 1953, in Iowa City, Iowa, to Evelyn Chaudoin and Neil Palmer, the second of three daughters. The family lived in Vermillion, S.D., where Pam attended elementary and junior high school, and Toledo, Ohio, where Pam graduated from DeVilbiss High School in 1971.

After high school, Pam attended Oberlin College, then the University of Toledo, where she earned a bachelor's degree in geology, geography and anthropology. In college, she traveled to Haiti on a humanitarian mission, foreshadowing her later involvement in the Central American peace movement. After two years of graduate work in geology, she moved to Olympia, Wash., in 1976, where she was a geologist for the Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources.

After meeting another geologist, Kurt Othberg, whom she later married, Pam moved to Moscow in 1980 and worked as a geologist for the Idaho Bureau of Mines and Geology. She and Kurt had a daughter, Erin, in 1981 - the first of Pam's three children to be born at home. Pam and Kurt later divorced, but remained in close contact.

In Moscow, Pam met and married Tom Lamar, her partner in work for peace and justice in Central America. They traveled to Nicaragua as part of a Witness for Peace delegation and canvassed for pro-peace candidates in Kansas for Neighbor to Neighbor. She was active in the Coalition for Central America, which for a decade advocated for peace in Nicaragua and El Salvador.

Pam and Tom had two daughters, Teva, born in 1986, and Brya, born in 1990. Pam was influential in the early years of the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute, including suggesting that PCEI buy property near the North Polk Extension for its environmental learning campus.

In 1991, Moscow voters elected Pam to the Moscow City Council. She easily won re-election in 1995. In between, Pam ran unsuccessfully for mayor, calling for greater public involvement in city government. In 1999, she was among the council members who advocated the city's purchase of the former high school on Third Street, now the 1912 Center. She served six years on Idaho's Public Transportation Advisory Council.

Pam's support for the arts came to the forefront in the early 1990s when the University of Idaho proposed to eliminate the Idaho Repertory Theatre. Pam led a community fundraising campaign that prompted the UI administration to reverse its decision. She later served on the theater's advisory board. In 2000, Pam completed her Master of Fine Arts degree in theatre arts at the UI, specializing in playwriting.

With her friends Andriette Pieron and the late John Dickinson, Pam founded Sirius Idaho Theatre, which staged plays at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre and elsewhere. She enjoyed writing plays, acting and directing. She directed "The Four Poster" for Washington State University's Summer Palace in 1999. Pam and Tom were honored as queen and king of Moscow's 2003 Renaissance Fair in recognition of their contributions to the community. They later divorced but remained friends.

In recent years, Pam worked as a childbirth educator for Pullman Regional Hospital, as the first executive director of the Latah Trail Foundation and as a staff member at the Moscow Food Co-op, where she was a longtime member and volunteer. She also helped the Nez Perce Tribe raise money to buy back a collection of tribal artifacts from the Ohio Historical Society.

Pam was an end-of-life caregiver for her sister Cynthia, who died in 2004, and her father, who died in 2009. Similarly, Pam was cared for in Reno in 2014-16 by her daughter and son-in-law, Teva and Joe, and earlier this year in Renton, Wash., by her daughter and son-in-law, Erin and Julio. Her youngest daughter, Brya, cared for her in both locations.

In addition to civic service and community activism, Pam enjoyed playing the piano, organic gardening, parenting, grandparenting, Words with Friends and Facebook.

Pam is survived by her mother, Evelyn, of Walla Walla; her sister, Susan Palmer (Kurt Othberg), of Walla Walla; her daughters, Erin (Julio) Esteban Mejia of Renton, Wash., Teva (Joe) Hopper of Reno, Nev. and Brya Palmer (partner Derek Reagan) of Moscow; five grandchildren, April, Melonie, Janelle, Kurt and Isabelle Esteban Mejia, all of Renton; five nieces, Clare Harris Palmer of Moorhead, Minn., Jill Sinner of Fargo, N.D., Penny Tatum of Chaska, Minn., Alina Othberg of Normandy Park, Wash., and Miranda Othberg of Seattle; two nephews, Scott McCormick of Wheeling, W.Va., and Seth Palmer Harris of Denver; and a grand-niece, Karen Esteban-Alvarez, of Renton. Her favorite cat, Sammie, was left in the care of Pam's friend, Lesley Park, of Moscow.

A celebration of life will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, at East City Park, Third and Hayes streets in Moscow. A potluck reception will follow at 3 p.m. at the 1912 Center, 412 E. Third.

The family has established a memorial account at Latah Federal Credit Union in Moscow. Pam's daughters will distribute the proceeds to organizations close to Pam's heart, including the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center and Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute.

The family would like to thank Pam's many doctors, nurses and caregivers, especially Staci Dooley, APRN; Christos Galanopoulous, MD; Hope Wechkin, MD, and Eric Taylor, MD.



Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" 
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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