Martin Conner Palmer, 84, of Kensett, Arkansas passed away peacefully on September 4, surrounded by his family and loved ones. The family will receive friends on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at Kensett First Baptist Church. A Celebration of Life service will be held at the church at 11:00 a.m. followed by a graveside service at Kensett Cemetery. Memorial donations can be made in lieu of flowers to the Kensett First Baptist Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 692, Kensett, Arkansas 72082.
Martin was born in Aurora, Illinois and raised in Kensett, the son of the late Demar and Stella Palmer. He had two brothers, Arthur and Perry, and two sisters, Mary Lee and Deann, who also predeceased him. He loved spending time with all of them as well as his nieces, Beverly, Beth and Becky and his sister-in-law Pearl and her sister Murrell.
Martin spent his entire life serving his community and his church. After graduating from Kensett High School in 1956, he served in the United States Army stationed at White Sands, New Mexico. He went on to be Mayor of Kensett, a volunteer firefighter and a pilot. He spent his career working for Missouri Pacific/Union Pacific Railroad and DK&S and had a great love of trains. He was a Mason and long-time deacon at Kensett First Baptist Church where he loved singing and so many were blessed by his music. Martin contributed his deep, rich bass voice first in a barbershop quartet while in the Army and later as a member of the Master’s Quartet. His family and friends are so thankful his music will live on in many videos and audio recordings of his music.
When Martin returned from the Army, he married the love of his life Shirley Jeane Hodges. He once said that no matter what else happened in his life, she was the “best thing that ever happened to him”. Together they raised three beautiful children whom he adored! Martin leaves behind his wife Shirley, his daughter Connie and her husband Greg Herrin, his son Martin Conner Palmer II (Marty) and his wife Becky, and his daughter Julie and her husband Perry Wingard. He and Shirley were also blessed with eight wonderful grandchildren, Chris Crawford, Caleb Crawford and his wife Shay, Caleigh Rambo and her husband Drew, Mason Palmer, Maddison Caldwell and her husband Wes, Tara Lantrip and her husband Scott, Dallas Wingard, and Hope Huntsman and her husband Jordan. He couldn’t have been more proud with the arrival of ten great-grandchildren, Christin Crawford, Chad Martin, Brayden Crawford, Reece Rambo and Stella Grace Caldwell, Aubree Lantrip, Adlee Lantrip, Witten Lantrip, Colton Herrin, Etta Huntsman. Martin also cherished his many nieces and nephews and other extended family members who were near and dear to his heart.
After Martin retired, he found a new passion in his life – an RV. They joined an RV Club and he and Shirley traveled the country going to bluegrass festivals, car races, the Louisiana Bayou, even to Mexico and California and across the northwest. Shirley often joked he loved that RV more than her but what he really loved was having the freedom to travel and spend time with her!
Martin loved the Lord, his friends and family, singing, “picking and grinning”, his RV and his cat, Bob. Everyone who knew him will keep a “Martin Story” in their hearts because he always kept everyone laughing. He truly lived a “BODACIOUS Life” and will be dearly missed.
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