NORWAY — Rowena Mae Palmer, 84, of Norway, died peacefully March 26 at her home, surrounded by her children and their spouses: Cheryl Wixson and husband, Phillip McFarland of Stonington, Jennifer Wixson and husband, Stanley Luce of Troy, William Wixson and wife, Robin Wixson of Belmont, N.H., Wesley Wixson and wife, Lori Wixson of Bow, N.H.

“Grammie Ro,” born Nov. 29, 1932, to Winona Young of Norway and William Palmer of Whitneyville, was raised on the family homestead in Norway, then Young’s Turkey Farm. Educated in the Norway schools, she attended the University of Maine, where she made many new — and lifelong — friends and studied to become a licensed medical technician. While at Orono, Rowena met and married Eldwin A. Wixson Jr., a dairy farmer from Winslow, with whom she had her four children.

The family transitioned from farming to a career in academia, eventually settling in Plymouth, N.H., in 1966. In New Hampshire, Rowena was a tireless volunteer at college events and in the greater Plymouth community. A lifelong learner and avid reader, she was active at the Plymouth Memorial Library, completed her bachelor’s degree at Plymouth State College and became a licensed real estate broker, taking pride in being known as an honest and straight-shooting Realtor.

In 1987, Rowena was hired as the town of Norway’s tax assessor, serving in that position for 10 years until her retirement. She was possibly the only tax assessor whom people actually liked to see coming up the driveway!

Active in the community during her retirement, Rowena’s proudest achievement was raising $1 million for the Norway Memorial Library’s expansion project. A retired board member of the First Universalist-Unitarian Church of Norway, she joyfully sang in the choir under the direction of her good friend, Heather Pierson. Rowena volunteered at the library and the Norway Center for Health and Rehab, where she visited with and brought doughnuts to residents.

During her well-lived life, Rowena was a fountain of love, strength and joy for all who came into contact with her. A role model for her children and grandchildren, Rowena touched the lives of countless numbers of people during her long life. She will be missed by many.

Rowena was predeceased by her parents and by her beloved brother, Kurt Palmer.

She is survived by her four children; nine grandchildren; her beloved sister, Paula Johnson, and husband, Robert Bruce Johnson of Tyrone, Ga.; her dear sister-in-law Joyce Palmer of Norway; her sister-in-law Faith Varney and husband, Erlon Varney, of Falmouth; her sister-in-law Sharon Clark and husband, Glenn Gruber, of Pasadena, Calif.; her cousin, Norman Young of Hudson, N.H.; special friend, Leland Millet; and many nieces and nephews and grandnieces and nephews, as well as many special new and lifelong friends.

Online condolences may be shared with her family at

Rowena M. Palmer

Rowena M. Palmer

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