Elmer A. Palmatier (1912-1995)

Joe Laferriere josephl at CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU
Tue Jan 2 10:24:10 CST 1996

There should be no monotony
In studying your botany
It helps to train
And spur the brain
Unless you haven't got any.

Thus began the first class of the semester of Botany 111 at the
University of Rhode Island when it was taught by Dr. Elmer A. Palmatier.
The students knew immediately they were not in a poetry class. They
were, instead, in one of the most mind-opening and enlightening classes I
have ever had the privledge to take. Dr. Palmatier did not merely teach
botany; he taught how to think. He also had fun doing it.
    Every Saturday morning, just for the fun of it, Dr. Palmatier would
go for an informal hike with any student who wanted. As a freshman, I was
constantly amazed at the depth and breadth of his knowledge. I was also
amazed at how this old man could hike faster than any of us young kids.
    Fifteen years after I took Botany 111, I completed my own PhD at the
University of Arizona. Dr. Palmatier stunned me by flying 4000 km to
attend my dissertation defense. I have never been so flattered in all my
existance, nor will I ever feel so flattered again.
    Dr. Palmatier died this past month at his home in Exeter, Rhode
Island. There is now a bit more monotony in botany than there once was.

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