Michael Lyle Palmer
February 13, 1947 – September 4, 2022
Michael “Mike” Palmer, 75, of Zenda, Wisconsin, passed away September 4, 2022, at home surrounded by his family after a long battle with amyloidosis. He was born in Harvard, Illinois, to Allyn and Jane (Heyer) Palmer on February 13, 1947. He grew up in Zenda with his three brothers, working on the family farm, having fun with cousins and neighborhood friends, and riding his horse, Wimby. He attended Zenda Grade School and Big Foot High School (class of 1965), where he developed lifelong friendships and an appreciation for learning. His childhood was an idyllic time in his life, which he recalled fondly.
He attended Blackburn College in Carlinville, IL, where he played basketball and was a hurdler and pole vaulter on the track team. He held the school record in pole vaulting for several years and was nicknamed “Pit.” He met more lifelong friends, including Elizabeth “Libby” Bean, his wife of 53 years (married August 16, 1969).
He taught math and computer science at Wilmot High School for 33 years. He loved his students and fellow teachers and created the good-natured underground faculty newspaper, The Backstabber, which by most accounts provided witty and hilarious observations of life at Wilmot. The students frequently voted him “teacher of the year.” He also coached basketball for a few years and track for many years.
While he enjoyed teaching, he was always a farmer at heart. He took pride in living on the family farm in Zenda. He loved working outdoors, baling hay, improving his farm buildings, and restoring tractors. He owned a dozen old tractors – twice as many as his wife knew about. His gardens were legendary, and he planted hundreds of trees in his lifetime. His hobbies included buying and selling coins, playing poker, and collecting antiques. He served as a Linn Town Board Supervisor for ten years. He was a longtime member of Linn Presbyterian Church and spent many years managing the rummage shed.
He was a devoted father and grandfather who created a nickname for everyone. His children were affectionately known as Big Squid, Dirt, and Buzzer Bee. He looked forward to visits from his grandkids and instilled in them a love for farm life and a tolerance for algebra. He had an amazing memory and told entertaining stories, sometimes with a hint of exaggeration. Even in his last few days, he told stories from throughout his life, and he had a dream where he was driving a stagecoach with 100 horses. He liked that dream.
He is survived by his loving wife, Libby; children, Amanda (Jeff) Felbab of Windermere, FL, Alex (Gustie) Palmer of Zenda, WI, and Anne (Brent) Smith of Chicago, IL; grandchildren: Dylan and Elizabeth Felbab; Lahni, Lishi, and Mia Palmer; Leo and Julia Smith, three brothers: Jon (Sandy) Palmer, Gord (Sandy) Palmer, and Mark (Denise) Palmer; his Aunt Nancy (Bob) Schroeder as well as beloved cousins, nieces, nephews, and dear friends.
Family and friends are welcome to attend a celebration of life, which will be held at the family farm on October 9 from 1:00-5:00 p.m. Visit https://everloved.com/life-of/michael-lyle-palmer/ for more details. Memorial donations can be made to Linn Presbyterian Church or follow the link above for other options.
For more information call Toynton Funeral Home at 262-275-2171.