William C. Palmer III, 72, of Ashland passed away April 7 at the Timothy Daniels House in Holliston. Born in Natick, he was the son of the late Alice (Slack) and William C. Palmer Jr.
William grew up in Ashland and then Hopkinton in his early years. He was most proud of his service in Vietnam in the Navy as a BT3 (boiler man petty officer third class) from 1966-70. He was deployed on the USS Oakhill LSD-51 (landing ship dock), commissioned with launching and repairs of landing craft and amphibious vehicles. In 1967 he was deployed with the USS Duluth LPD-6, a landing platform/dock amphibious warfare ship, used to land Marines on the shore. The Duluth motto was, “Fortiter In Re” (Bold in Action). Lastly, he served on the USS Haleakala (AE-25) a Nitro-class ammunition ship supplying the Navy in both blue and brown water with ports into Da Nang and Subic Bay.
Bill returned to Massachusetts and lived in Medway and worked as a mule team plow driver for Weston Nurseries, a pipe fitter assistant, a long haul semi tractor trailer driver, and a school bus driver for Framingham Schools. Bill bought 10 acres of land in Wolcott, Vermont, and lived there occasionally in a cabin he built, while working as a bus driver. He came back to Massachusetts to become his elderly mother’s primary caregiver and took care of her for over a year before she passed. In the last few years, he offered his Bill’s handyman/lawn service to various residents.
He enjoyed country music, working, fishing, enjoying the variety of trees in the outdoors, and having a beer afterward with his many friends at his favorite establishments (the VFW, Rose Garden, T.J.’s). He also loved his daily walks, meeting up with friends and family around Cushing Memorial Park. He will be missed by many. He enjoyed his family and friends and being “Uncle Butch” to his nieces, nephews and grandnieces/nephews.
William is survived by three brothers, Tracy Palmer and his wife, Debra, Edward Palmer and his wife, Angela, and Christopher Palmer and his wife, Joyce Pimental; two sisters, Katharine Thompson and her husband, Wayne, and Roxanne Lareau and her husband, Michel, as well as 12 nieces and nephews, Heather Lannon, Erin Andreola, Jason Thompson, Gabriel Thompson, Ellen Levasseur, Melissa Gromelski, Beckey Palmer (Ramirez), Adam Palmer, Brian Palmer, Jenna Palmer, Christopher Palmer and Spencer Palmer.
Services will be held at a later date at the Ashland VFW (or other local location), with interment happening in Bourne National Cemetery. Arrangements are under the care of the Chesmore Funeral Home of Hopkinton. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to VFW.org (Bill was a member in Vermont and Medway) or VeteransInc.org (a Worcester location and to help patients and families being treated in the Boston VA hospitals). Visit the funeral home website for full donation addresses.