MAE MONICA (nee Greene) age 88, November 23, 2020
Mary Monica Palmer ( AKA ) Mae was born on September 24th, 1935 to Earnestine and Fred Greene. She was the youngest of seven siblings and was affectionately known as Tuttie Mae - she would know many terms of endearment throughout her life.
Mae’s family were one of the first Roman Catholic families in the region. She was born in Belmont, North Carolina, a fact her mother, Earnestine was quite proud of. Earnestine, along with her Aunt Mildred Rankin, were long time employees of the Abbey Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, built in 1892.
As a child, Mae attended another historically important Catholic institution, a Maryland boarding school founded by Mother Mary Lange of The Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first religious Community for girls of African Descent in the United States.
Over time, three of Mae’s brothers moved North. Her mother and her brother Frank, who was like a father to her, made the decision for Mae to also relocate with him and his wife to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to continue her education. There, she attended the West Catholic Girls High School, where eventually, her four daughters and her son Francis would graduate.
At American Bandstand, an American institution, Mae would meet the man she would later marry. On April 12,1952 Mae was joined in marriage to Luther Albert Palmer Jr., affectionately known as Buddy. From this union came four daughters Stephanie, Zoe aka Bunny, Deborah and Donna Mae. After Deborah was born in 1958,
Mae and Buddy purchased a home in Overbrook Park, located at 1461 N. Felton St Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she remained for sixty-two years until our Lord called her home. She was surrounded by her children and grandchildren. God is good!
Mae spent her young adult life years being a devoted wife, mother and homemaker, but as her children got older, her mother, Ernestine, came to live with her. Mae was employed at the Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital. Initially employed in a laboratory, she was nervous because she hadn’t any experience. The doctor she worked for asked her if she could cook, and whether she could follow a recipe. Because Mae was a great cook and there are similarities between cooking and working in a lab, she excelled. Later on and due to her excellent work record, she was transferred into the medical records department where again she excelled and remained there until her retirement.
Mae’s retirement was early and once again, she made a selfless act by caring for her children and grandchildren. Stephanie had married and moved to New York and mommy wasn’t going to miss a moment. The new title grandma had her jumping over the moon. She visited Steph often during her pregnancy. Doctor visits and helping to prepare her home for the impending birth of her first grandchild, Matthew Palmer Bowman. She was so excited she made a handmade quilt for Matt and threw the biggest baby shower the block had ever seen.
The house looked like Karl’s, the high end baby store in Philadelphia, at the time being a grandmother was her greatest joy.
Right after Matthew’s birth came Alicia, Donna’s daughter. Donna and Deborah’s old bedroom was transformed into a nursery - a labor of love by Mom and Uncle Frank. Before long, Melanie was born to Deborah. Mae’s work was cut out for her and she relished every moment - they were her three amigos. Nicholas came along three years later. Carey and Blair were three years behind Nick and she adored them all. Five years down the road Deborah was expecting and Mommy announced “ I’m not keeping any more children. I’m going back to work.” But you know what they say, we make plans and God laughs. Deborah went into labor at twenty- two weeks and was hospitalized for 21 days and Mom stayed at her side the entire time. Imani was born at twenty-six weeks and the doctors prepared us for her not to survive. Our mother brought her then pastor in from Washington, DC to administer the sacrament of the sick to her granddaughter, who she had named Imani which is Swahili for faith. Imani fought through and mom said “I am claiming the victory.”
She made each of her grandchildren feel like each one was her favorite and each felt exactly like that. Once Mae knew her grandchildren were big enough to report on their day care providers and teachers, she returned back to work.
Through her daughter, Zoe, Mae’s extraordinary baking skills resulted in a collaboration with restaurateurs Robert and Ben Bynum for her delicious Bread Pudding. Mae came to love Robert and Ben as her bonus sons.
When the pandemic started mom asked Zoe and Deborah “Do you think Donna will be mad?” “Mad at what?” we asked. She responded by saying “I’m going to leave him my house because he might need my help.” That says it all about how she felt about Robert and Ben!
In addition to her love of baking and cooking, Mae loved flowers, the color green, and the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. She loved her Bible, all kinds of candy and of course, her family.
The family would be remiss in not mentioning the role our mother played in the lives of those who grew to know and love her. Echoed from a neighbor she watched grow into a man, Darren De’voue said, “ Mrs. Palmer demanded respect and courtesy and did not take any mess.”
She was a guiding light and fountain of support for numerous extended family, friends and members of the community in which she lived for many years. They are too numerous to name.
Our mother was preceded in death by her husband Luther A. Palmer Jr., “Buddy”, her one sister, Carrie Proudford, and her six brothers, James Norwood, Fred Nathaniel, Francis Patrick, Alonzo Michael, Goldie Charles, John Raphael and one son-in- law, Anthony Ashby.
She leaves to cherish her memories four daughters: Stephanie Palmer, Zoe Ashby (Bunny) Deborah Palmer-Long and Donna Ashby. Sons: Francis Patrick Greene (Jennifer) Dalion Baskerville. Sons-in-laws: Herbert Mark Long, Martin Addison Bowman and Darwin Davis. Grandchildren: Matthew Palmer Bowman, Alicia Rae Palmer, Melanie Palmer, Nicholas Luther Ashby, Carey Michael Palmer, Blair Patricia Greene, Imani Drew Hall, Kelsey Lyn Greene. Great Grand Children : Zion Goldie, Lashaan, Qayyim, Nyla, Victoria, Macklin, Mathias and Asher Drew. Three special nieces: Anna Marie Young, Maxine Craig and Teana Craig Williams. Two first cousins: Gloria Barton and Edward Craig. She is also survived by her North Carolina family whom she loved immensely. There are so many special people in our mother’s life.
Sorrowfully submitted, The Family
Relatives and Friends are invited to her Mass Tuesday morning 10:30 A.M. at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 6301 Woodbine Av Philadelphia pa 19151. Interment Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon, Pa.
Please share condolences at www.gangemifuneralhome.net
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