William Palmer
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Bill was born on June 18, 1938 to Hazel and Francis Palmer in West Long Branch, New Jersey. On, December 30th, Bill passed away at age of 82. He attended West Long Branch school system, Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro, Virginia, and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He graduated from Monmouth University.

Bill and his parents owned and operated Marpal Disposal in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. Although a successful business owner, Bill is probably better known as a swim coach. He was a founder of Central Jersey Aquatic Club (CJAC), along with Frank Elm of Rutgers. CJAC was number two in the United States in women's swimming. Bill coached numerous national champions, including Olympians and Olympic gold medal winners, and world record holders.

Bill is survived by four children: Bill Jr. (Mary Ava) Palmer from Ramona, California, Dee Dee Palmer from Vallecito, Colorado, Judi (Tim) Smith from Newark, Delaware, and surrogate daughter, Peggy (Tim) Donovan from Auburn, New Hampshire. He has four grandchildren: Sarah Palmer from Sante Fe, NM, Dr. Kieran Smith from Fort Lupton, CO, Katie Donavon from New York City, and Meggie Donavon from New Hampshire. Also, he is survived by his sister, Karen Palmer of Brielle, New Jersey.

After selling his business, Bill moved to Durango, Colorado, in 1996. While in Durango, he began coaching the Durango Masters Swim Team. Durango Masters has had many state champions and finished second place numerous times in Colorado and first in medium-sized teams. Bill has been coach of the year with both USMS in New Jersey and masters swimming in Colorado.

Bill had passions for skiing, biking, and triathlons. He competed in almost 200 triathlons, including the Hawaii Ironman. He was known for saying exactly what he thought and had many close friends.

He is survived by his wife, MaryAnne Nelson. Memories will be shared at a later date with a toast to Bill's life afterward at his home in Durango. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Best Friends of Animals, 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, Utah, 84741.

Bill always said that he loved animals as well as most people.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Durango Herald on Dec. 31, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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13 entries
February 19, 2021
Awww Bill, I served you many a breakfast at Carver's, over the years. I always enjoyed seeing you and the guys and loved that you always tried to make sure you were in my section. Rest in peace, Buddy. I'll save some crispy bacon for you.
January 21, 2021
Go hard or go home! Thanks for pushing me to be my best. I will not miss Bill's voice because it will be encouraging me every time I swim. He made a difference in my life. I am so sorry for your loss. I pray that God surrounds you with tender mercies as you work through your grief.
Cheryl Robertson
January 5, 2021
Mary Ann, reading this obituary I just realized that you, the person with the rec center locker next to mine, are Bill’s wife. I did not know him except for seeing him coach the Swim Club and workout upstairs. He seemed to be everyone’s friend. I am so sorry for your loss; and I know that words cannot reach the depth of your sorrow.
Vicki Coe
January 3, 2021
I'll never forget skiing with you down the slopes at Purgatory ski area. Some times I couldn't see you, but I sure could hear you. RIP Legend.
David LaConte
January 2, 2021
So sorry to hear of Bills passing. I have fond memories of listening to him hold court at the Durango Rec center and his frequent claim:” ya gotta keep moving because you’ll lose it if you don’t move it. That and his unsolicited comments if I happened to be swimming laps when he was coaching masters! Usually not complementary ! Hello to Dee Dee and sorry for your loss.
David Marvin
January 2, 2021
Bill was definitely the best coach I ever had and it wasn't even close! RIP Bill you will be missed but your legacy at CJAC lives on.
Jack Martin
January 2, 2021
When asked in his last hours what a T shirt in his honor would say, Bill took just a moment and said.
“Be True To Yourself.”
Bill did live and DID die by these words.
“ and love like you do not have tomorrow”.... a bullish and heart of gold man he was. Peace to you Bill.❤
Barb Wolfe
January 2, 2021
RIP Bill You were one of a kind and I always felt it was a gift to have coached with you at CJAC. I learned so much from you and always felt that you made everyone on the team feel like family.My sincere condolences to the Palmer family.
January 2, 2021
What a guy! How brave of him at the end, and how determined he was in everything he did. It was an honor to include him in my book of aging athletes. And, he swim-trained me well for Alcatraz. Peace to you all!
Martha McClellan
January 1, 2021
Oh MaryAnne and family, I am so sorry. I have many fond memories of Bill at the Rec Center and seeing him ride bikes with MaryAnne in the Valley. I will miss his booming and distinctive voice and his gruff, affectionate, and authentic self. MaryAnne, you were a true companion. Debra
Debra Van Winegarden
January 1, 2021
When they built you, brother, they turned dust into gold.
When they built you, brother, they broke the mold.
Peace brother...
Henry Mercer
January 1, 2021
My good friend...A man with true grit, a kind heart and who once told me he liked his dog Mokie more than he liked most people... we’ll miss that booming voice of yours in the years to come... Rest peacefully
Guy Gallo
December 31, 2020
RIP my old Jersey pal...Will always remember the times skiing and diving... You fought the hard fight and kicked butt...!! Bill was one of a kind and the mold was surely broken.! Big loving hugs to MaryAnne and the kids.
May Bill's memory be a blessing for all who knew him...Shelly Perlmutter
Shelly Perlmutter
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