Margaret Palmer, Foreign Service spouse, dies at 96

August 29, 2013
Margaret Palmer
Foreign Service spouse

Margaret Palmer, a Foreign Service spouse, Meals on Wheels volunteer and member of St. Paul’s Rock Creek Episcopal Church in Washington, died Aug. 23 at her home in Bethesda. She was 96.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said a grandson, Jamal Jafari.

Mrs. Palmer’s husband, Joseph Palmer II, served as ambassador to Nigeria and Libya and an assistant secretary of state for African affairs.

Margaret McCamy Jones was a native of Savannah, Ga. She was attending the University of Georgia in the late 1930s when she received a scholarship to study in Germany.

She wound up helping process refugee applications at the U.S. consulate in Hamburg and left her studies a few credits shy of graduation to work full-time for the State Department. She did clerical work at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City before marrying.

Her husband of 53 years died in 1994. After being widowed, Mrs. Palmer inquired about finishing her degree, and the University of Georgia conferred it on her in 1995, saying her life experience made up for the few lacking credits, according to her family.

Her memberships included Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired.

Survivors include three children, Joseph W. Palmer of Tybee Island, Ga., Heather P. Jafari of Gaithersburg and Thomas J. Palmer of Kensington; a brother; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

— Adam Bernstein