WOODSTOCK – District 200 School Board Vice President Sue Palmore, who was approaching 10 years on the board, died last week after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Palmore had a dedication to education that shined in her work with, and away from, the district, board members said.
“I was deeply saddened,” board member Camille Goodwin said. “She had such a valiant fight against her illness and she survived with such grace. It was distressing to lose her.”
Palmore, whose third term was due to expire in 2015, underwent treatment for the cancer without giving up her spot on the board. She’d missed the October school board meeting but made a short appearance at the September meeting, said Carol Smith, D-200 director of community services.
Longtime board member Robert Birchfield said Palmore didn’t talk often about her cancer as she filled a role she felt passionately about.
Among other accomplishments, Palmore spearheaded an effort a couple years ago to install gardens outside D-200 high schools, Birchfield said. He remembered her leadership in physically working on the garden despite her illness.
“She contracted this problem four years ago and went through chemotherapy and all the things necessary to rest and go into remission, and all that time she served on the board,” Birchfield said.
Goodwin said Palmore was a leader whose vigor for education showed in all aspects of her life.
“She has one of the strongest wills of any person I have ever encountered,” Goodwin said. “To be able to fight this battle and to not let it interfere with her life … it was wonderfully inspiring.”
The school board discussed the vacancy left by Palmore in a special planning meeting Monday night. Once appointed, her replacement will serve until spring, when the remainder of Palmore’s term will come up for election.
The board set a timetable to fill the spot by the regularly scheduled Dec. 11 school board meeting. Applicants can submit their résumés until Nov. 19, the board said Monday.
Superintendent Ellen Wrzeski and board President Paul Meyer declined to comment about Palmore’s death, citing a desire to wait until the family makes it public by compiling and releasing an obituary.
“I feel that is the right and correct thing to do,” Wrzeski said.
Birchfield, who has served on the board since 1995, remembered fondly Palmore’s support during a couple of his bids for re-election.
“I will miss her very much,” he said. “I considered her a very good friend.”