Ken Palmer, Margo's father, said he met Carol when they both worked for Allstate. At the
time. Carol had a master's degree in anthropology from the University of Michigan.
"Her dad was an Allstate agent for 40 years," Ken said. "When she got out of college, there wasn't a big demand for anthropology so she would up in Joliet and started working at Allstate. She was smart, intelligent and not cut out to be a sales agent."
As an example, Ken recalled a booth the two worked an Allstate booth at a local department store, explaining insurance policies to passerby. Carol spent an hour and a half explaining a renter's insurance policy to one couple. In the same amount of time, Ken had closed three deals.
"After about three or four months, she knew she wasn't cut out for sales," Ken said.
Her technical knowledge of underwriting, however, was excellent, he said.
So in 1976, after Ken left Allstate, he and Carol married, Ken started a company with Carol working for it. They lived in Bolingbrook at the time. Ken sold the company in 1982 and Carol continued in the insurance field.
"She worked for major Fortune 500 insurance companies," Ken said.
The couple bought a 100-year-old house in the Elwood area in the early 2000s, Ken said and made their home there.
Seven years ago, the couple founded the Elwood-based H.O.P.E. Animal Rescue, which Ken still runs. They had previously volunteered for other animal rescues and but saw a need for rescues that accepted large dog breeds, such as Newfoundlands, Ken said.
"She was very good with people, too," Ken said. "It surprised me the number of guys that came to her funeral, around my son's age. But they remembered Carol favorably for listening to them. When they were having trouble, she took the time to listen to them and give them good advice. She was a great lady."
But as much as Ken enjoyed their partnerships and projects, he especially misses talking with Carol on a wide range of topics.
"We used to have tremendous conversations," Ken said.
• Editor's note: This story is part two of a two-part story. Part one ran March 18.
• To feature someone in “An Extraordinary Life,” contact Denise M. Baran-Unland at 815-280-4122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.