Freda Palmer


Freda Palmer loved her daily walks and exotic animals like elephants and tigers and pandas – but most of all, she loved people. Her zest for life didn’t fade when she reached her milestone 100th birthday several years ago. She continued to hold birthday parties at the San Diego Zoo or Wild Animal Park, greet her fellow residents during walks at Rancho Bernardo’s Casa de las Campanas retirement community, and maintain the philanthropic efforts she started decades ago until her recent death.

Those efforts included her support of the Women’s Outpatient Services Pavilion at Palomar Medical Center Poway and cardiovascular services throughout the Palomar Health  system. In recognition of her continued generosity, one of the signature terrace gardens at Palomar Medical Center Escondido will be named in her honor.

Mrs. Palmer, who was born in Stuttgart, Germany on May 10, 1905, died Oct. 7 after a short illness. She was 105.

Mrs. Palmer enthusiastically followed the progress of the new hospital, and joined other supporters and contributors in signing her name to the final beam that topped off the project.

“I’ve never known her to complain about anything. She was always positive and upbeat,” remembered Dennis Merkes, pastoral care counselor at Casa de las Campanas. “And she was very humble.”

In addition to her support of Palomar Health, she also donated a large sum to the retirement community for the building of a dementia care unit. However, according to Merkes, she didn’t want anyone to know that she had made this contribution. Finally, the executive director convinced Mrs. Palmer that people really wanted to know who had been so generous. In the end in hopes that her actions would encourage and inspire others to give as well, she agreed.

Photos courtesy of Casa de las Campanas retirement community.

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  • Palomar Medical Center Escondido


    2185 Citracado Parkway

    Escondido, CA 92029





  • Palomar Medical Center Poway


    15615 Pomerado Road

    Poway, CA 92064