SEBRING — The business Mark Palmer Electric has traveled an interesting road spanning two generations of family. The journey began with Robert Palmer and was carried on by his late son, Mark Palmer. Now Mark’s wife, Patty Palmer, continues the good work begun by her father-in-law and husband.
Friends and coworkers of Patty Palmer say she is someone who will do anything she can for others and is a kind and caring boss.
“She’s a good boss,” employee Cindy Bennett said. “She’s good to work for. She’ll do anything in the world for you.
“One of the girls that works with us, her husband needed a kidney,” Bennett said. “Patty went and got tested and she donated a kidney to him. She’s very generous. She’s an amazing person.”
“She’s a very generous person to work for,” employee Ken Batz said. “Whenever business slows down, she has other properties, and she’ll send people out there to work so that they won’t have to go home. She’s got a big, soft heart.”
“She’ll do anything in the world for you,” Bennett said.
Mark Palmer Electric began with Robert Palmer, who graduated from Avon Park High School in 1951. He worked as an iron worker with his father here in Florida, as well as in Kentucky and South Carolina. He was a student at the University of Florida up until being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1957.
Upon his return to Avon Park, Robert Palmer was an electrician with Florida Power. In 1965, 53 years ago, he went into business for himself, opening Palmer Electric on Main Street in Avon Park, where his family had run a rooming house and grocery store. The business is now at 5232 U.S. 27 North in Sebring.
“Mark [Palmer] bought the business from his father,” Bennett said.
Mark Palmer was born in Wauchula. Not only did he run the family business, he was very active in the community. He served on the South Florida Community College Vo-Tech AC advisory board and he was a member of the board of directors of Riverside National Bank. He also raced for SCCA (Sports Car Club of America).
Mark Palmer was also a former president of Highlands County Seminole Boosters Club, past member of SIRAC and Sertoma Club, and he was an avid golfer (Bandit) and member of Pinecrest Golf Club. He coached youth baseball and softball for many years and he regularly attended the First Baptist Church of Avon Park. He was a graduate of Florida State University and had been a lifelong resident of Avon Park.
In August 2006, Mark Palmer passed away. At that time Patty Palmer, who has a bachelor’s degree in finance from University of Central Florida, stepped in and began running the family company.
“Her and her husband owned the business,” Bennett said. “She had to overcome losing her husband. When he passed away she came in and took over.”
Perseverance is a defining trait of Patty Palmer’s and the family company reflects her business acumen for success.
“She’s done a wonderful job,” Bennett said. “You couldn’t ask for a more wonderful person to come in and take it over. She’s had to overcome a lot of stuff. Her brother worked for her; he left to start his own business, so she’s had to overcome that too.”
Patty Palmer was already involved in the company previous to Mark’s passing. “She stepped down some for awhile and stayed at home and was a mother to her two children,” Bennett said. “They have turned out to be wonderful children.
“Bobby was in college when his father died and Logan was, I want to say, a senior in high school,” she said. “Bobby is now a doctor and Logan is involved in the business world and doing very well. Patty has supported them all the way.”
“She is good to work for,” Raleigh Tyler said. “She is a very caring person.
“If I had to pick one word to describe Patty, it would be ‘caring,’” Tyler said. “This is a great company. I’ve been with them since 1996 and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”