Dr. Merrill J. (“MJ”) Palmer, beloved husband, father, teacher, mentor and friend, passed away from complications related to lung cancer on Feb. 2, 2020. He was born on Nov. 30, 1939, in Elmira, NY and was a Beaches resident for over 40 years.
Dr. Palmer received his B.S. in Music Education at SUNY at Fredonia, his M.M. in Choral Conducting at Indiana University, and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Iowa. A music professor at UNF for 31 years, he conducted choirs in cities all over Europe and founded the North Florida Women’s Chorale. He served as Music Director at Palms Presbyterian Church for 27 years, volunteered at Baptist Beaches Medical Center for 13 years, and was a member and past-president of the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club Men’s Golf Association. He was an unforgettable character who made friends everywhere he went and will be greatly missed. He loved sports, travel, puzzles, his Island Girl family, and the Tuesday golf outings with his best friends.
The family would like to thank the Baptist Beaches Hospital medical staff for their compassionate care during his last days. Special thanks goes to Dr. Pamela Rama and Dr. Anthony Capasso for keeping him going for the past twenty years.
MJ was a devoted husband and father and is survived by his loving wife of 47 years, Jane, and three children: Michael, Jay, and Brittany. He was predeceased by his parents, June K. and A. Wilber Palmer, and his brother Norman (Carolyn).
A Memorial Service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, at Palms Presbyterian Church, 3410 Third St. South, Jacksonville Beach, FL. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to UNF Classical Music Scholarships.