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Phyllis May Palmer (born Hornbarger), formerly of Watervliet, died Feb. 16, 2022 at her home in Sandy, UT of congestive heart failure. She was 78 years old.

Phyllis was born on Dec. 21, 1943; the oldest of five children born to Luther and Marcia Hornbarger. She was born in St. Claire’s Hospital in Manhattan, New York, NY, where Luther was stationed to serve stateside with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Phyllis was a 1960 graduate of Watervliet High School and continued her education throughout the years, especially in the area of child care and development. Phyllis loved children and worked as a pre-school teacher and as a private nanny. Growing up as the eldest child, she was an excellent big sister and a second mother to her younger sisters and brother, cleaning the house, caring for them and preparing meals.

Phyllis’ family was a musical one, and she was a beautiful singer who sang for her church and different events, often accompanied by her father on guitar.

Phyllis was married twice; first to Watervliet police officer Bill Saurbier (1964-1970) and later to Bob Palmer (1976- 1991). Her second marriage took her from Watervliet to the Houston, TX, area where she lived until the early 2000s, then living in Cincinnati, OH, Phoenix, AZ, Surprise, AZ and finally, Sandy, Utah. Throughout her life, she was caring for others, working and serving whenever she had the chance.

She is survived by her siblings: Linda (Larry) Roper of Antioch, CA, Pamela (Roger) Shuck of Atascocita, TX, Everette (Pam) Hornbarger of Fort Wayne, IN and Nancy (Roland) Leeks of Watervliet. She is also survived by three adult children: Teresa (Jeff) Tally of Sandy, UT, Michael (Peri) Palmer of Texas City, TX and Steven Palmer of Hanover, Germany. She was the grandmother of 12 and great-grandmother of two little boys.

Phyllis was preceded in death by her eldest son, Jeffery Lynn Saurbier, who died at age 13, as well as her parents, Luther and Marcia Hornbarger, both long-time residents of Watervliet.

Phyllis was known for her big heart, her beautiful voice and her love for the Lord, family and of children. Her celebration of life will be held at Watervliet Free Methodist Church, 7734 Paw Paw Avenue at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 18. The service is open to the public. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorial donations be made to the Watervliet Free Methodist Church Living Water Food Pantry.


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