Helen McDowell Palmatier

February 28, 2010 

Mrs. Helen McDowell Palmatier, 93, of Burlington, NC, died Wednesday, February 24, 2010.

A native of Winnipeg, Canada, Helen Palmatier was the daughter of James Alexander McDowell and Ida McKivor McDowell and the widow of the late Everett Dyson Palmatier, who died on September 14, 2007. They had been married for almost 66 years and had two daughters, Anne Palmatier Tapper of Philadelphia, PA, and Carol Elizabeth Dubs of Norwalk, CT.

Helen Palmatier had three grandsons, Jacob "Jake" Tapper of Washington, DC, Aaron Hahn Tapper of Redwood City, CA, and Christopher Jonathan Dubs of Norwalk, CT. She also had three great-grandchildren, Alice Paul Tapper, Jack Raymond Tapper, and Isaiah Everett Hahn Tapper.

During World War II, while her husband was serving as a Lieutenant Commander with the Royal Canadian Navy, Helen worked as a confidential secretary for the Canadian government.

Though she never formally received a college degree, education was paramount in her life. She studied French at a local convent while working in the Canadian Parliament buildings in Ottawa during the war, and pursued other languages later in life. Following her husband to the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she almost completed a degree there, and became an expert on Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, and the British Royal family, among other subjects. She was an expert homemaker and hostess for her husband, who led the Department of Physics and Astronomy and served as Vice Chancellor for Advanced Studies and Research. She was very active in the University Women's Club.

Helen Palmatier was the eldest of four children. Her sister Grace and brother Stewart have passed away; her sister Edith Essery lives in Alberta, Canada. "Grammie," as her grandchildren called her, was both adored and respected. The world is dimmer without her light.

A service celebrating her life will be held at 2:00 p.m., Monday, March 1, in the chapel at Twin Lakes Community, 3801 Wade Coble Drive, Burlington.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to a charity of the donor's choice. Cards may be sent to family members, c/o Anne Tapper, 212 Carpenter St., Rear D, Philadelphia, PA 19147.

Condolences may be offered at www.richandthompson.com

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