Alice Palmer (nee Sotiros) died July 29, 2020 after 102 glorious years on this Earth. She LIVED life to the fullest every single day.
Born to Greek immigrants Paul and Irene Sotiros, Alice, along with her beloved siblings Patricia, Mary, and George, grew up in the Hyde Park neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. She attended Hyde Park High School and was a Sunday School teacher at Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church.
It’s safe to say that Alice experienced more in her lifetime than most of us ever will. During the Great Depression in the 1920’s her family lived in a single room her father built behind his shoe repair shop. Rather than speak of the difficulties of that period, Alice instead often reminisced glowingly of the White City and the 1933-1934 Chicago World’s Fair; she was good at finding the silver lining in things. During the Second World War she worked in a millinery shop making fashionable hats and prayed for her brother George to return home safely from the service. After the war, she met her husband James Palmer at the Aragon Ballroom and was married in 1947.
By the 1960’s Alice was raising her children Irene and Andrew – whom she helped put through college – on her own, and she met that sizable challenge head-on with a tremendous work ethic. She worked at the famed Chef Alberto’s restaurant in Chicago for nearly a decade and then was a fixture at The Little Corporal in the Loop, where she sometimes hob-knobbed (and more than likely held her own) with celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin.
She became “Po-Po Grandma” in 1971, and so focused her attention on spoiling Ken, Jim, and Sophia that in their eyes, she was simply the best Grandma who ever lived. While as youngsters she showered them with gifts and treats when their parents weren’t looking, it was during adulthood that she shared with them her wisdom and showed them how to be good people through example and deed. She loved the children they brought to the family too, and enjoyed laughing and playing with her great-grandchildren.
Alice had a magnetic personality, a tremendous sense of humor, and was often the life of the party. She enjoyed holidays and made sure others did too. When her kids panned Halloween during their teenage years, Alice called them “square” and dressed in a flapper costume to show them what Halloween fun was all about. The family Christmas celebration was never complete until everyone was left roaring in laughter after receiving their “Aunt Alice” gag gift. She loved to travel, and enjoyed trips with her family to Greece, Paris, London, and New York. When she turned 80, she celebrated with family in Las Vegas. She loved playing the slots and was known to pull the handle on occasion well into her late 90’s.
Unlike some who shun and even disdain birthdays, Alice loved celebrating hers because she believed that getting old was all in the mind – and her mind still thought she was 25. Later in life her kids threw her several large milestone birthday parties, first at 90, then 95, then 100, and then at 101. Each time, more than 100 people came from far and wide to celebrate with her. Why? Because her family and friends meant everything to her, and she in turn meant everything to them. She truly and genuinely loved everyone dearly and was revered, along with her sister Pat, as the leaders and co-matriarchs of the extended family. She earned that respect through countless selfless acts of kindness, generosity and support. Alice gave willingly and freely to others even when she herself had, at times, so little to give.
In her final days, Alice told Andrew and Irene that her sister Pat had come to her in a dream and told her that Heaven was indeed as wonderful and glorious as you could imagine, but that there was no food. Our angel Alice is in Heaven now with Pat, Mary, George, her parents, and other loved ones who went before her. And hopefully she found a buffet.
Alice is survived by her daughter Irene Farsalas and her husband Spiro; son Andrew Palmer; grandson Kenneth Farsalas and his wife Cheryl, grandson James Farsalas and his wife Gillian, granddaughter Sophia Farsalas and her fiancé Thomas Prahl; and great-grandchildren Jackson Farsalas, Alice Farsalas, Zoe Farsalas, Alexander Farsalas, and Vivienne Prahl.
Family and friends will gather Monday morning, August 3rd, at SS Peter & Paul Greek Orthodox Church located at 1401 Wagner Road in Glenview, IL 60025, for Funeral Service at 10:00 a.m., followed by Interment in Elmwood Cemetery, River Grove.
In light of current COVID-19 restrictions, social distancing and wearing face masks are mandatory; it is recommended that if you are not feeling well, you should not attend.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to SS. Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church, 1401 Wagner Road, Glenview, IL 60025, or online by clicking here, or The Greek American Rehabilitation and Care Centre, 220 N. First Street, Wheeling, IL 60090, or online by clicking here.
May her memory be eternal, and may she rest in peace.