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E. Ann Palmer, active in Republican Party, longtime stand-up comedian

April 5, 1931 – Feb. 13, 2016

E. Ann Palmer, a retired Erie County Board of Elections staff member, a political campaign worker and a stand-up comedian, died Saturday at her home in Marilla. She was 84.

Born in Erie, Pa., the former Elizabeth Ann Luther was a graduate of North Collins High School.

The mother of five, Mrs. Palmer was a cafeteria worker in the Iroquois Central School District from 1968 to 1970, then became a keypunch operator for the Board of Elections. She retired in 1991.

Active in the Republican Party, she was a state committeewoman and worked on campaigns for Jack Kemp, Ed Rutkowski, Dale Volker and Barber Conable. She attended both of President Reagan’s inaugurations.

Red-haired with green eyes, she was a former plus-size model with the June II agency. She had a role as an extra in a movie about the Attica prison uprising and had a long career as a comedian. Known for her false eyelashes, she performed at various venues locally, in Canada and aboard cruise ships. She appeared with local radio personalities Dan Neaverth, Sandy Beach and Tom Shannon.

“She always had a joke,” said her daughter, Rhea Hewitt. “She was just naturally funny.”

She was the daughter of the Rev. Arthur A. Luther, one of the founders of Odosagih Bible Conference in Machias and a noted preacher and composer of “Jesus Never Fails” and other hymns.

A life member of Odesagih, she served on its board and played piano and sang there for many years.

She also was a member of the Red Stocking Revue of East Aurora and the First Baptist Church of Marilla.

A Buffalo Sabres season-ticket holder, she befriended many of the players, most notably Bill Hajt, who invited her to his induction ceremony for the Sabres Hall of Fame.

Her husband of 52 years, Kenneth R., a radio and TV station engineer, died in 2002.

In addition to her daughter, survivors include two sons, Kenneth G. and Carl; 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday in the First Baptist Church of Marilla, 11651 Bullis Road, Marilla.

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