Recent Obituaries
In Memoriam Archive

Victoria Palmer ’70

April 13, 2020, in Salem, Oregon, from lung cancer.

Vicki, the daughter of a successful San Francisco attorney, had a childhood in Marin County filled with ballet lessons, riding, and music. Every summer, she spent a month with her mother and brother at the family vacation home in Lake Tahoe while her father continued to work in the city. What might have been an idyllic childhood was tragically marred by both parents’ active alcoholism. Their sometimes violent arguments left emotional scars that Vicki carried through her entire life. She finished her bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture at the University of Oregon.

One day, Vicki realized that she had become an alcoholic. At the age of 53, she attended her first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, beginning a journey of recovery that resulted in finding the loving family she had always wanted, a safe place to learn and grow, and an amazing opportunity to help others.

Pursuing her many interests with her full attention and energy, she was able to spend an entire day quilting or weeding the yard. Two great passions were the union in which she was a shop steward for more than 25 years and the Oregon Department of Revenue, where she was chief steward for more than 10 years. She even did a short fill-in stint as president of the SEIU Local 503. During the biannual collective bargaining sessions, it was not uncommon for Vicki to put in her usual eight hours at work and then head over to the union hall to participate in bargaining sessions that could last well past midnight. She never backed down from putting the needs of the American worker where she believed they belonged. Vicki wanted people to be able to earn a living wage, work in decent conditions, and be able to afford health care. Those who disagreed with her at least had to respect her honesty, diligence, and hard work.

Despite a two-pack-a-day habit of smoking cigarettes, she was astoundingly healthy and fought her three-year battle with lung cancer with nary a whimper. She is survived by her husband, Alex Fielding, and her brother Fred.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2021

comments powered by Disqus