Palmer, Dennis

Artist And Musician Was Co-Founder Of Shaking Ray Levi Society

Monday, February 18, 2013
Dennis Palmer
Dennis Palmer

Dennis Palmer, 55, a Chattanooga native, beloved father, son, brother, musician, visual artist, storyteller, educator, and devoted friend of many, died peacefully at his home on February 15, 2013.

A singular vocalist and nontraditional musician, called "the world's most colorfully inventive synthesizer player" by Creative Loafing, he co-founded the acclaimed free improvisation group The Shaking Ray Levis with drummer Bob Stagner in 1986, which was the first American band to record an album for the legendary British label Incus Records.

As a visual artist, Mr. Palmer has exhibited his paintings, silk-screened prints, and other unconventional artwork both locally and internationally in cities including London and Los Angeles.

A leader in the arts community, Mr. Palmer co-founded the nonprofit arts education organization The Shaking Ray Levi Society and served as its artistic director for over 26 years. Mr. Palmer promoted the ideas of improvisation and creativity in thought, performance, and visual art to students of all ages and developed outreach programs for under-served populations including students with developmental, emotional, or physical disabilities.

Mr. Palmer is survived by his mother, Virginia Palmer Pierce; wife, Heather Palmer; son, Christopher Palmer; brothers, Clinton Palmer (and wife Kathy) and Kenny Palmer (and wife Shani); niece, Lindsay Palmer Barnette (and husband, Jason); and great-niece, Aimee Barnette.

The family will receive friends on Wednesday, Feb. 20, from 2-4 p.m. and a memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. in the East Brainerd Chapel. 

In lieu of flowers, please direct donations to either Allied Arts or McKamey Animal Center. 

Born into the Baptist faith, Dennis was an inspiration for many and a strong advocate of "living in the moment" and "doing the highest good for all" in the community and beyond.

Arrangements are by the East Brainerd Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory and Florist, 8214 East Brainerd Road, Chattanooga.

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