College mourns death of Palmer Kocher, adjunct lecturer in the Department of Mathematics

We are saddened to share the news of the death of Palmer Kocher, a SUNY New Paltz alumnus who had served as an adjunct lecturer of mathematics since 1997, on Dec. 28, 2020. He was 77.

Palmer was born in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 28, 1943. He earned a bachelor’s in mathematics and a master’s in computer science from New Paltz and went on to enjoy a career of more than five decades at IBM.

He married Linda Ann Weigel on June 11, 1967, and the couple welcomed four children together – Christopher, Jeffrey, Michael and Gillian. Linda predeceased Palmer in 2010.

Palmer returned to the College as an adjunct in 1997, teaching courses including statistics and math for teacher candidates. In fact, he was teaching during the current Winter Session. The obituary published at the website of Keyser Funeral Service notes that he “enjoyed [his job at SUNY New Paltz] immensely, and was committed to never retiring from it, a promise that he fulfilled.”

Palmer and Linda served together as members of the West Hurley Fire Department, and Palmer remained committed to this work after her passing, serving as commissioner and even responding to a call on Thanksgiving Day 2020.

Shortly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Palmer authored this opinion letter in the Daily Freeman about the Department’s early plans for continuing to serve their community in unprecedented times.

He took great pride in his therapy dog, Sandy, with whom he brought comfort to many people in need over the years. Sandy was by his side when he passed, and will remain with the family.

He is survived by his loving children, their spouses and many grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made in Palmer’s memory to the West Hurley Fire Department or The Good Dog Foundation in Hudson, New York.

Funeral services will be private, but the family is inviting those who loved Palmer to a drive-by memorial at the West Hurley Fire Department on Tuesday, Jan. 5, at 6 p.m.

A Celebration of Life is planned for Saturday, June 12, at the West Hurley Fire Department.

If you are a student who needs assistance in processing this sad loss, the Counseling Center is available at (845) 257-2920. Employees are encouraged to contact the Employee Assistance Program at (845) 257-2886.