Evelyn "Evie" Palumbo, who was a leader and enthusiastic volunteer in community groups, died Monday of progressive supranuclear palsy, a rare neurological disorder, her family said. She was 73.
Mrs. Palumbo was an accomplished professional and homemaker who devoted herself to helping others. She began as a nurse, caring for babies in a neonatal intensive care unit and then working at an Army hospital in Japan. After starting a family and settling in Sacramento in 1972, she was a homemaker, soccer team coach and leader in parent groups at Loretto and Jesuit high schools.
She returned to school to earn a bachelor's degree in art and design from California State University, Sacramento, and became a Crocker Art Museum docent. She opened and ran an interior decorating business for several years.
"She had a flair for color and design," said her husband, Frank.
Mrs. Palumbo's energy and creativity made her a driving force in volunteer groups. She organized fundraisers and served two terms as president of the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society Alliance, which provides grants and volunteer support for community health projects.
She co-chaired art auctions and was a board member of Friends of the Sacramento Crisis Nursery, which helps children of families in turmoil.
"Evie was an extremely capable person and a good friend to everybody," friend Katie White said. "She had a wide interest in activities and in reaching people."
One of 10 children raised by farmers, Evelyn Mary Kertz was born April 11, 1940, in Ste. Genevieve, Mo. She graduated from DePaul Hospital School of Nursing in St. Louis in 1961 and worked as a nurse in St. Louis and Baltimore.
She married Dr. Frank Palumbo in 1965 and spent two years in Okinawa after he was drafted by the Army and sent to Japan. They lived in Chicago during his orthopedic surgery residency before moving to Sacramento. She was an athletic woman who enjoyed snow skiing, hiking, golfing, boating and playing tennis for many years.
Besides her husband, Mrs. Palumbo is survived by their four children, Mary of Portland, Ore., Patricia of Elk Grove, Carl of Houston, and Carolyn of Sacramento; a brother, John Kertz of Bloomington, Mo.; two sisters, Ruth of O'Fallon, Mo., and Rosemary Livingston of St. Louis; and nine grandchildren.
A memorial Mass will be held at 1 p.m. May 4 at St. Ignatius Loyola Parish church, 3235 Arden Way, Sacramento. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Friends of the Sacramento Crisis Nursery, 4533 Pasadena Av., Sacramento 95821.
Call The Bee's Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077. Follow him on Twitter @bob_davila.