Mr. Cleveland Tyde Palmer, aged 69, of 740 Tempting Church Road, Sanford, North Carolina, transitioned into eternal rest on Thursday, March 18, 2021, at home.
Cleveland Tyde Palmer was born to Andrew and Ophelia (Newby) Palmer on September 3, 1951. He grew up in the Tempting Community of Sanford surrounded by seven brothers and sisters, cousins, and extended family members. Attending Lee County public schools, he helped to integrate one of the middle schools and the high school, eventually graduating from W. B. Wicker High School in 1969, the final year of the all-Black high school’s existence. He continued his education at A&T University in Greensboro, NC, where he was a member of the Pershing Rifles, a military fraternal organization for college-level students.
Cleveland eventually relocated from North Carolina to Sherman Oaks and Van Nuys, California, where he enjoyed a successful career with the California Metro Transit System. Upon his return to the east coast, he established his own successful construction businesses in Massachusetts, Virginia, and finally in North Carolina - specializing in roofing, deck construction, flooring, painting, remodeling, and home improvement and services. Always displaying a pleasant disposition, he was known as the “handyman with a smile and charm.”
As a faithful member of Tempting Congregational Church and the Tempting Community, he was active in various community endeavors. One could always find him with his brothers and other volunteers preparing the Community Center and its grounds and picking up and preparing food for the annual community family reunion. He was a primary participant in the construction and maintenance of the Center’s pavilion. He was a regular contributor in the beautification and maintenance projects of the church; he was a Men’s Choir supporter (non-singer) who traveled often with them because he was so spiritually moved by their performances; and, he was a voluntary church kitchen assistant as he enjoyed the camaraderie with the other volunteers while prepping and serving food to members and guests. And he was a loyal supporter of his brother, the Rev. Barry Palmer – accompanying him to many services, conferences, conventions, and local church events, reminding him of tasks and commitments, keeping track of his whereabouts – Grandma Ophelia’s old job – and cooking dinner for him and sharing with his sister Carol.
Maya Angelou wrote of herself: “I work very hard, and I play very hard. I’m grateful for life. And I live it – I believe life loves the liver of it. I live it.” Tyde or Uncle Tyde (as he was fondly referred to by family) too, was a “liver of life.” He was a diligent and serious worker, and with equal fervor, he was indeed a social person who loved life. Always armed with observant and genuine compliments for those whom he encountered, he wielded a charm that instantly caused others to feel seen and heard (sometimes purposefully, other times unintentionally). Always a consummate host, he wanted the setting to be just right, and he had to “look” his best (like Grandma Orelia), and he was always welcoming to his guests. As a people person, he enjoyed sharing his knowledge. When his sister Morcia moved to California, he immediately transformed into a protective Big Brother Tour Guide – showing her the lay of the land, introducing her to new experiences and places (such as hair salons), and to new sights and foods. A connoisseur of good food, he also enjoyed cooking for others: potato salad, country ham, fried chicken wings – all washed down with Uncle B’s “preacher juice.”
Beyond the deep love and respect that he felt for his siblings, Cleveland loved and was immensely proud of his daughter, Courtney. From her conception until the end of his life, there was no doubt about the owner of his heart: his spitting image, his smart and confident young lady, his brave and beautiful songstress – daddy’s girl. He lived his life for as long as he humanly could because of her love for him and his for her. And she remembers him as “a most loving, accepting, and forgiving soul – without limits.”
Cleveland is preceded in death by his parents, Andrew and Ophelia Palmer. He leaves a legacy of faith in God and unconditional love to his daughter, Courtney Ellis of New York City; Siblings: Carol Taitt and Rev. Barry Palmer, both of Sanford, NC; Andrew Palmer, Jr. (Gloria) of Taunton, MA; Morcia Minor (Oliver) of Upper Marlboro, MD; Miriam Foy of Baltimore, MD; Retired Sgt. Maj. Raynard Palmer (Helena) of Raleigh, NC; and Horace Palmer (Lynette) of Holly Springs, NC; and a host of cousins, nieces, and nephews.
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