Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Teachers who made a difference: Florence Palmer

Florence S. (Styers) Palmer was mentioned several times when I asked readers to name their favorite Decatur County teacher. She was born 7 December 1913 in Greensburg. She married Leslie Palmer in 1944, and graduated from Butler University in 1953. Florence taught fourth grade in Greensburg schools for 41 years, retiring in 1979. She died 20 December 1997, and was buried in South Park Cemetery.

Bob Siefker, Greensburg High School class of 1961, was kind enough to share his memories of Mrs. Palmer:
"Mrs Palmer was my fourth grade teacher in the old West End School. I graduated in 1961, so I guess that was 1952-53? 
Her husband Les owned and operated a shoe store on the west side of the square. I remember they sold Buster Brown shoes (I grew up with Buster Brown on TV "This is my dog Tide, he lives in a shoe! I'm Buster Brown, Look for me in there too!") They had a fluoroscope where you put your feet in holes and low intensity radiation showed how well your feet fit the shoe. Of course, we had no idea of the long term effects of radiation! It was a pretty cool machine.
Mrs. Palmer was very popular among all the kids. At recess, the kids would often walk with a favorite teacher instead of playing. Mrs. Wenning, Mrs. Meyers and Mrs. Palmer always had kids hanging off both arms. If you didn't get there in time to actually hold hands with one of these teachers, the next best thing was to hold hands with the kid holding the teacher's hand and so on until the poor teacher would be walking with ten kids hanging on each hand - like a giant manta ray! They had to turn very slowly to avoid 'cracking the whip.' 
She was a gracious and loving person who got results with praise and encouragement, never punishment and fear."
We have been unable to locate a photo of Mrs. Palmer. If you have one to share, please let us know! You can also share your thoughts and memories of Mrs. Palmer in a comment below. 

Source: Florence S. Palmer obituary, 22 December 1997, Greensburg (Ind.) Daily News.

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