Dr. William Rodney Palmer
September 5, 1948 – August 5, 2021
Obituaries have next to nothing to do with death and absolutely everything to do with life. If you were fortunate enough to know Bill Palmer, then you know he lived with fierce love and passion for rheumatology, his dear patients, his close friends and his family.
Dr. William R. Palmer passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on August 5, 2021 after a hard-fought battle with cancer. He is survived by his beautiful wife, Leslie and their three children; daughters Lindsey (Marc) Milanowski, Lauren Palmer, and son David (Maggie) Palmer; brother Jim (Kris) Palmer, DDS; his grandchildren Molly, Jane and Chase Milanowski, and Garrett Palmer; his cousin Linda Blue; and his most loyal friend Pete Pornchaisiriarun. He was preceded in death by his loving parents, William F. Palmer and Alberta M. Palmer.
William was born on September 5, 1948, in North Platte, Nebraska to William and Alberta Palmer. He graduated from North Platte High School as valedictorian in 1966, and graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 1969. He graduated from medical school at the University of Nebraska in Omaha (AOA) in 1973, and completed his Internal Medicine Residency with Board Certification in 1976 and his Rheumatology Fellowship with Board Certification in 1978 at the Albany (NY) Medical Center, where he met his wife, Leslie.
Dr. Palmer was the first Board Certified Rheumatologist in Omaha, Nebraska in 1978. He has practiced Rheumatology in private practice, most recently at Westroads Rheumatology Associates, for over 43 years. He actively participated with the University of Nebraska Department of Internal Medicine for 25 years in the education of medical residents, Family Practice residents, Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant students. He has been a constant advocate and contributor to physician and student education in Rheumatology for over four decades. In 2014, the American College of Rheumatology recognized him as a Master. This is one of the highest honors the College bestows.
Dr. Palmer has been a leader in multiple medical-related societies including the American College of Rheumatology, Metropolitan Omaha Medical Society (Board of Directors), the Nebraska Medical Association (Board of Directors), and the Nebraska Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. He is also a trustee of the Albert and Bernice Hansen Charitable Foundation which directs funds to rheumatology research, as well as to the betterment of the people in Dundee and Hitchcock County in Nebraska.
Rheumatology was his life’s work. He loved his patients and delivered excellent medical care with compassion and kindness. His family will remember him as a strong, honest, hard-working man with a tremendous sense of humor that was driven by goodness and service. He cherished his annual fishing adventures in Canada with his son David, his brother Jim, and his dear friends. He loved his dogs, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, talk radio, crossword puzzles, spending time at the Lake, fishing in the mangroves of Florida, going on cruises with Leslie and family, bragging about Lindsey, Lauren and David’s accomplishments, and watching his grandchildren grow up.
Dr. Palmer wanted to thank his patients that trusted him with their care, his rheumatology colleagues that he had the honor to work with, and his staff whom he considered family.
In lieu of flowers, please direct memorials to the Palmer TRIO Fund at Wayne State (www.wsc.edu/donate and add Palmer Trio Fund in the note section) and the Rheumatology Research Foundation (www.rheumresearch.org).
THE FAMILY REQUESTS THAT EVERYONE WEAR MASKS FOR THE VISITATION: Friday, August 13th from 5pm to-7pm at the West Center Chapel; AND FOR THE SERVICE: Saturday, August 14th at 11am at Morningstar Lutheran Church, 331 South 85th Street, Omaha. Private Interment. To view live broadcasts of the Service, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button on the home page.