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Rita R. Palmer, chief hematologist at ECMC

July 6, 1928 – Jan. 25, 2015

Rita Rose Palmer, retired chief medical hematologist at Erie County Medical Center, died Sunday in ElderWood Health Care at Amherst. She was 86.

Born in Buffalo, she earned a bachelor’s degree in biological science from D’Youville College in 1950 and began her career at ECMC as a laboratory assistant.

Ms. Palmer rose to the position of chief hematologist, where she oversaw the labs and blood banks at the hospital. She retired in 1990. Throughout her career, she was a clinical instructor at D’Youville College and the University at Buffalo.

She published and presented papers in periodicals and at conferences. She received the Mary B. Cooper Service Award in 1972 from the Empire State Association of Medical Technologists.

In 1987, she was honored as “employer of the year” by the Army Reserve 365th Evacuation Hospital in Niagara Falls.

She served as president of the Niagara Frontier Association of Medical Technologists and the Empire State Association of Medical Technologists.

Her passion for learning about other cultures led her to visit all of the continents. She also enjoyed golf.

Survivors include a brother, George, and nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Friday in Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 1029 Delaware Ave.

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