A Second Obituary

The first obituary was composed by Palmer; This one is written by son, Doug

Palmer Roscoe  Haynes lived a life of rural humility mixed with receptiveness to the world.  He began life on a sheep farm outside of Evansville, Wisconsin.  Palmer was born 7 years after  his brother Chauncey.  Palmer’s first school, Tullar, was a one room country schoolhouse.  When the farm failed, the family moved to Liberty St. in Evansville.  His desire to explore took him to Kansas, where he studied architecture and met his lifelong partner Lydia at Kansas State University.  Soon thereafter, the military sent him to Boston, after which he returned to settle in Wisconsin.  There, he took up his scale, T square and triangle to design schools, libraries, hospitals and churches.  In the early 1960s, Palmer became a dad twice over to Catherine and Doug.  It was a role he enjoyed.  Palmer’s openness and curiosity was fueled by hosting AFS students, especially Manuel, who shared Peruvian culture with him.  Later, Doug married JungJa who introduced Korean culture into the Haynes family.  Catherine’s spouse Betty has been a constant supporter of Palmer and Lydia.  Around the time of Palmer’s retirement granddaughter Hyunji became the youngest member of the Haynes clan.  She spent many hours playing and reading in the care of her Grandpa.  Palmer enjoyed the warm embrace of Christian community as an American Baptist.  Palmer’s faith pushed him towards social justice and pulled him into a broader love and acceptance in grappling with a welcoming Christian response to God’s LGBTQ children.  His work for the church was carried out with the patience and endurance of a seasoned runner.  In addition to being a runner, Palmer enjoyed sports in season.  For the season of shovel, he skied and for the season of swat, he biked and canoed throughout the state.  He also shared a passion for racquetball with his colleagues.  Palmer had an affinity for nature which eventually led him to take up residence in a wooded valley of the driftless area.  For those resources he held in trust, his stewardship was at a high level.  He took seriously the forestry of the small woodlots in his trust.  For decades he faithfully tended soil experiments in the Arboretum.  He was a dedicated bird counter for Cornell University and his passion for the Military Ridge Trail was integral to the restoration of the Ridgeway Depot.  As a poet, Palmer sifted words to remove the coarse bits until the fine grained truth of careful observation revealed a unique vision of Wisconsin life.  On June 6th of 2020, Palmer and Lydia celebrated their 60th anniversary.  He drew his last breath surrounded by family at the celebration of his 85th birthday.  

Remembrances are being gathered at www.palmerspoems.com and on the website of Gunderson funeral home.  The family will be holding a virtual memorial service  by zoom on October 10 at 10:00am.  Gifts in Palmer’s memory can be given to Porchlight inc.  or Friends of the Military Ridge Trail.

Spider in View

Within a mirror shell
    A metal lair, a spiders dome.

woven, and knitted;
each spar and junction tethered,
this sunning patio spans the reflected world!

Engine turning noises, . . .
spider remains web centered,
accelerating, . . . and holding fast!
. . . h o l d i n g . . . f a s t!

Nearing Maximum Velocity,
retreat begins,
slipping, and recovering,
walk buffeted walk!,
Hold on, h o l d o n!, . . . 

Noted Legacy

Under thin gray clouds diverging down,
galloped colorful horse manes.

compacted ravine gravels.
Overnight pelted and rain-washed.

Standing distant on drying Quercus soils,
over sun-comforted knoll.
Grandmother oaks’ home, and you;

Young russet oak. Your noisy leaves,
scarlet dressed like your slim cousin;
your burred uncle bearing the hawk’s nest.

Southwinds blow,
beginning a fallen acorn’s legacy.

palmer haynes
december, 2003

Read books

Can we read books? Hyunji
checked another Mr. Putter and Tabby book,
South Madison branch.

Fourteen other titles,
Putter, his fine cat Tabby
Mrs. Teaberry and her good dog Zeke.

Yes Hyunji, we can always read books,
you and I will always read books,
But, we’ll never read them all.


July 19, 2006

Men’s Farm Talk over breakfast

A youth,
in his mornings,
pitched chores,
hand milked
before machines,
before dawn’s
cold face glowed.

Today’s parlor cows
milked three times,
68 degree grade A piped to
38 degree insulated tankers,
loses only
one degree Fahrenheit
on its way to Florida.

Wisconsin’s Amish
thrive small,
out-buildings all
neat and white,
they craft
a life.

Threshing day rallied
rural community,
one family helping
another, and another,
cutting, bundling, setting
the long plank table outside,
all sweaty labor
until it rained.

Total electrostatic
green immersion, with
robotic spray touch-ups,
built-out combines,
all priced, purchased, shipped,
a wheat harvest
Texas to Canada.

Uncle Clifford
seeded three consecutive
droughty, barren
years, bingo! 1940!
Wheat! paid off
all debts,
purchased prime
panhandle acreage!

central Wisconsin
growing decline, and
British Columbia’s
ginseng success,
turned on
climate, drainage, and
moisture control.

as we are,
no teacher
on the origin
of our daily bread
set to our tables.

July, 2008