Jarvis Worth (Jay) Palmer, 89, passed away on June 15 with his family at his bedside. Born September 13, 1932, Jay was preceded in death by his parents, Grady and Minnie Palmer of Hayesville, NC. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Patricia Alexander Palmer; his children, Alexandria Palmer Parker (Richard) and Branson Lee Palmer (Leslie Haynes), and his grandchildren, Lea Parker and Jay Parker.
After serving in the United States Air Force, Jay began his insurance career in Atlanta in the mid-1950s with Dudley L. Moore Insurance, which sent him to Birmingham to establish an agency. He later founded Palmer Insurance. He founded All Risk Insurance Agency in 1961 and also Standard Fire Insurance Co.
Jay and Pat settled in the Rocky Ridge community and were among the first members of Mountain Chapel United Methodist Church when it opened in 1958. He chaired the church’s first building committee for the chapel and later for a new sanctuary.
A naturally soft-hearted, strong leader, Jay attended Dale Carnegie courses early in his career. Carnegie’s books and courses clarified for Jay ideas he already lived by. He kept a list of reminders close at hand, including:” “Hide your private sorrows under a smile and carry on.” “It is done. I can’t change it.” “Life is too short to be little.” “Always make the other person feel important.”
In 1973, the Insurance Women of Birmingham honored Jay with its Boss of the Year Award, a fitting tribute to a man loved and respected by his staff and clients alike. Then in 1979, they made him the first two-time winner of the award.
He later sold Standard Fire Insurance Co., and during a noncompete period he co-owned Britling Cafeteria, and he developed Windy Oaks and Shelby Homes subdivisions with his friend Reid Long. The sale of the insurance company also allowed Jay and Pat to establish scholarships at the University of Alabama and Western Carolina University.
In the 1980s, Jay founded Caribou Insurance, specializing in insurance for trucking companies, and then with his son, Lee, he founded Birmingham Insurance Agency.
Early in his career, Jay realized many of his clients, and prospective clients, enjoyed playing golf. So, he took up the game and fell in love with it, becoming a scratch golfer. Through the years he and Pat enjoyed many of their favorite moments with friends around the golf course.
Jay adored Pat and their children and grandchildren.
The family will receive friends on Saturday, June 25, at 1 p.m., at Mountain Chapel United Methodist Church in Birmingham. A memorial service will follow at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Mountain Chapel United Methodist Church or the Salvation Army.