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Constance “Connie” Mardee (Miller) Palmer

Constance “Connie” Mardee (Miller) Palmer

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June 9, 1937 — Jan. 1, 2016

Connie, age 78, died peacefully at her daughter’s home on Friday, January 1, 2016.

She was born June 9, 1937, on a rainy day in Wichita, Kansas, to Beulah and O.G. Miller. She graduated from Pratt High School, Pratt, Kansas in 1955. During her high school years she worked in her father’s restaurant, taught twirling, was a majorette and French horn player in the high school band and managed to put in nine years of piano lessons.

She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business from Emporia Teachers State College in 1959.  She taught one year in Osage City Kansas High School before moving to Redondo Beach, California, with her husband, Kermit Palmer. She taught in the business department at Redondo Union High School for four years. She received her Masters of Science in Education from University of Southern California in 1964. Daughter Monette was born in 1964. The family moved to Ashland in 1965 where son Jeffrey was born in 1967.

Connie and children moved to Corvallis after her divorce. She taught in the business education department at Oregon State University for 18 years. She especially enjoyed teaching and supervising her student teachers. Many of her student teachers ended up teaching and retiring from the surrounding area. When the business education department was phased out at OSU, she taught in the computer office lab at Linn-Benton Community College and also substituted in the local high schools, often for her former students. Teaching was her life career and she loved it!

She met Less Duckett, the love of her life and he loved to tell people that he courted her for 23 years before she finally accepted his proposal. They were married July 21, 1991, at “high noon” on the Ponderosa Ranch at Lake Tahoe. Summers were spent camping, fishing, traveling, going to the coast and working among the hundreds of flowers and roses in their yard. They also spent lots of time obtaining and organizing Connie’s rather unusual hobby of collecting swizzle sticks of which she had over 38,000 different ones from around the world. They would attend the International Swizzle Stick Convention in Las Vegas every two years and this year she designed the swizzle stick that was made for distribution to members at the convention she attended in September.

She also loved playing the keyboard Les gave her. Poetry writing and photography were hobbies she started back in grade school and continued all of her life.

Connie and Les were married for 10 years before Les passed away.

The last several years she developed a passion for cruising — she cruised the Eastern and Western Mediterrian, Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean (several times), the Mexican Riviera, Pacific Coast, Alaska and Hawaii. She would probably catch a cruise to Heaven if one were going that far!

Connie’s children and grandchildren were the joys and blessings of her life.  She especially enjoyed the many times her grandchildren would just “stop” by to visit on their way home from school and just sit and share about their day. Watching each one grow and develop into their unique personality was such a delight. 

She is survived by her sister, Dee Horn (John); children Monette Palmer LeMay (former spouse Malcolm) and Jeff Palmer (Janet); stepchildren Amy Wong (Roger Kalua) and Mark Duckett (Gail); and grandchildren Chris and Lindsey LeMay,  Madeline Palmer, Kurt and Sean Okaneku and Catherine and Michael Duckett.

She was preceded in death by her parents, O.G. and Beulah Miller; brother Calvin Miller; and husband Les Duckett.

A celebration of Connie’s life will be held in the early spring as the flowers in our gardens start to awaken once again.

In lieu of flowers, to honor Connie contributions may be made in her name to the Benton Hospice Service at

Please share your thoughts and memories for the family at

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