Beth Palmer bio

Mary "Beth" Palmer was born August 14, 1952 and died October 2, 2019. Beth was a world-class bridge player from Silver Spring, Maryland. She was a World Bridge Federation (WBF) Grand Master and an American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) Grand Life Master. Over more than three decades of competition, she won five victories in major world women’s team events, two victories in major world women’s pair events, and 20 victories in major American women’s team events. Sometime prior to the 2014 European and World meets, she ranked 23rd among 73 living Women World Grand Masters by world masterpoints and 19th by placing points (that do not ever expire). Most recently, Beth was the captain of the team that won the Mixed Teams at the World Bridge Federation 15th World Bridge Series in Orlando, FL in September 2018. Her teammates were Melanie Manfield, Bill Cole, her husband William (Buffalo) Pettis, Debbie Rosenberg and Michael Rosenberg.

Beth was an Administrative Judge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, hearing complaints of employment discrimination. Prior to becoming a judge, she was a lawyer in private practice. Admired in the bridge world for her judicial temperament, Beth generously gave of her time throughout the years to serve in numerous administrative positions with the United States Bridge Federation (USBF), American Contract Bridge League (ACBL), and on the Board of the Washington Bridge League (WBL) for ten years. She was also an active advocate for Women’s bridge, playing a leadership role for many years in that capacity and played a leadership role for over 15 years in developing and implementing standards governing appropriate and ethical conduct at the bridge table.

Beth began playing bridge in law school in 1977. Her first serious partner was Bill Cole. In 1979, she played with Bill at the Spring NABC in Norfolk, Virginia, and her team made it to the round of 16 in the Vanderbilt. Lynn Deas reported that “Beth was the talk of the tournament, won more than 100 masterpoints, and made Life Master.” Beth formed a partnership with Lynn Deas in 1981. Playing a strong club system from the beginning, the pair played in their first World Championships in 1982, when they were both just 30 years old, and finished 2nd in the Women's Pairs. They played on three victorious World Championship teams as a pair (1987, 1989, 2002), and finished second (1982), third (1994), and fourth (1990) in the World Women’s Pairs.

Away from the bridge table, Beth enjoyed reading and sports, but her primary interest was her daughter, Julie Pettis. Beth served as Julie’s Girl Scout troop leader and coach of her basketball team. Beth lived with her husband and daughter, Julie, in Silver Spring, Maryland.