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    Mon, Dec 30, 2002  
Jimmie Rose Palmer  

HOUSTON, Texas -- Jimmie Rose Palmer, 82, of Houston died Dec. 27, 2002, in Houston.

She was born March 15, 1920, in DeFuniak Springs, Fla., where, under the name Mary McEachern Doe, she was adopted through the Children's Home Society of Florida by James D. and Rosalie Miller Palmer. She grew up in Carriere, Miss., Bogalousa, La., and Ponchatoula, La. She played the baritone in school bands in Bogalousa and Shreveport, La., graduating in 1939 from Fair Park High School in Shreveport.

She married Sidney James Shepherd on Christmas 1939 and gave birth to her only child Oct. 31, 1940, while living in Ruston, La. Within a few months, she contracted polio and was unable to rise from bed or use her limbs for eight months. She lived with her son and husband at the home of her parents in Shreveport while recuperating from the disease then known as infantile paralysis.

Over the following years, she spent many months in rehabilitative therapy in Warm Springs, Ga., having the opportunity to visit with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who also underwent therapy at Warm Springs, which was supported largely by the March of Dimes.

Surgery on her right leg allowed her gradually to develop the ability to walk without crutches, and in 1946 she took post-secondary courses in clerical and secretarial skills and soon went to work, despite the difficulty of getting aboard the electric trolley buses to travel to work. By late 1948, she had saved enough money to buy a new 1949 Ford sedan and, with the help of mechanical adjustments to the clutch and brake pedals, was able to operate the standard-shift car until she could buy a 1954 Ford with an automatic transmission.

After working at a small oil company and at Bewley Furniture Co., she found a position at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Shreveport. She retired from the V.A. after many years, including a short stint living away from her family to work at the V.A. Regional Office in New Orleans. She often spent her lunch hour and breaks visiting disabled veterans in the hope of inspiring them to believe they could overcome their handicaps and return to an active life. In later years, the debilitating after-effects of polio gradually weakened her musculature and she began to use a wheelchair much of the time. In the late 1990s, she suffered a stroke while at family property she inherited in Carriere and gradually became bedridden from the effects of one or more subsequent strokes. She was a member of Mangum Memorial Methodist Church and attended the First Methodist Church in Shreveport. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Sidney James Shepherd, on March 11, 1992.

Survivors include one son, Aubrey James Shepherd of Fayetteville; one granddaughter, Deirdre Susanne Shepherd of Fayetteville; several cousins, including Virginia Travis and John Howard Miller, both of Carriere, and Nolton Infinger of St. George, S.C.; her second husband, Hershell L. Knight of Houston, Texas; two stepdaughters, Millie Doyle of Shreveport and Mary Margaret Alexander of Houston; one stepson, Larry Knight of Lindale, Texas.

Graveside services will be at Centuries Memorial Park on Mansfield Road in Shreveport where she will remain alongside her parents.

Honorary pallbearers will be Dr. Ernest Ed Green and nephews, Kenneth Randy Jones, Buddy Ray Shepherd, Elwood Allums Shepherd, John Wayne Shepherd, Merritt Shepherd, George Kendrick, Ronnie Kendrick, James Infinger, Gene Stephens, Robert Grambling, John Bryant and Sam Shepherd.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the March of Dimes or to Louisiana Tech University in Ruston.

-- Paid

Jimmie Rose Palmer

Jimmie Rose Palmer

Sidney and Jimmy Rose Sherpherd
Sidney James Shepherd and Jimmie Rose Palmer