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Jack Allen Palmer

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Jack Allen Palmer died Monday, July 18, at the Dallas, Texas, home of his daughter, Sarah Palmer Murray. He was 78.

Jack was born April 15, 1933 in Meadville, Pa., to Richard Alvin Palmer and Florine Chapman. After his mother’s early death, he was raised outside Cleveland, and spent his teen years in Linesville, Pa. He graduated from Linesville High School, and went on to Hiram College, where he received a degree in mathematics. In 1954 he joined the U.S. Air Force, and attended flight school for two years. While in the service in the mid-1950s, he began learning about computers, and he continued to apply computer technology to business with a job at Bobbie Brooks Manufacturing in Cleveland.

Jack met Judy Duncan in Cleveland where they were married in 1964, and together they continued their work and studies, and on the side followed their interest in folk music. They were involved for a while with the legendary folk club La Cave, where Judy sometimes sang, and there they got to know rising talents such as Ian and Silvia, and the Smothers Brothers. They enjoyed a bit of the Bohemian lifestyle while working and studying traditionally.

The Palmers moved to Framingham, Mass., where Jack worked at Polaroid. Jack loved making photographs and his art evolved when the company offered unlimited free use of their cameras and film, leading to everyone getting dozens of Polaroid portraits. Soon Jack took a job in the computer department at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Shortly thereafter Sarah, their only daughter, was born. Both parents helped develop a stand-alone freshman study program at UNH, which included a liberal dose of Jack’s favorite writing, science fiction, especially the kind with futuristic sociological themes.

In 1979 Judy was offered a position at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati. The family moved to Ohio and Jack set up a computer consulting business in Cincinnati. For one client he scanned an entire book into editable format, and he noticed that every time it saw the word God, it translated it into clod. That required hand correction for his clients, who were Philippine nuns. For years he proudly edited and made the layout for Ohio Youth Soccer Magazine, thriving on the intricate work under deadline.

During the late ’90s Jack and Judy were given an opportunity to move to Kobe, Japan with Procter & Gamble. Within their first two weeks in Japan, the Kobe earthquake hit, leaving them homeless, with all of their things and their two dogs. While horrific, this experience really affected them, showing them the courage and character of the Japanese people and culture.

Jack and Judy were frequent visitors to Bill and Marty Duncan’s house since the 1960s, and later lived on Kingsfield Court, from the late ’90s till 2004.

In 2004, after Judy’s death, Jack moved to Green Valley, Arizona. Jack had a nimble mind and loved intellectual topics. He was meticulous and well-organized, and had a great memory. He was an avid and skilled bridge player, and played competitively in Yellow Springs and Green Valley. His passion for photography continued throughout his life, and Jack was rarely seen without a camera in his hand. In retirement he produced great images, and attended many Photoshop workshops around the country to hone his production skills. He was a dedicated and active supporter of Antioch College, working with alumni to keep the school healthy.

His sense of humor was both wry and witty, featuring complex jokes, often with clever pun punch lines, sometimes responding to “It’s nice to see you,” with, “Why thanks, it’s great to be visible!” Jack Palmer is no longer visible, but he lives in the memory of his appreciative and loving family and many friends.

Jack is survived by his daughter, Sarah Palmer Murray and son-in-law Mark Murray; granddaughters Kate, Brooke and Sidney Murray of Dallas, Texas; brothers-in-law Bill, Dan and Alec Duncan and their families and cousins Margaret and Dick Kettelkamp of Tucson, Ariz. A memorial will be held mid-August at the Green Valley Church of Religious Science in Green Valley, Ariz. Donations in Jack’s memory may be made to The Fund for Antioch College.


2 Responses to “Jack Allen Palmer”

  1. Bob Frost says:

    I’m saddened to learn of the deaths of my friends, both Jack and Judy. I spent may hours with them at their home in Durham, NH and worked on several projects with Jack at UNH. I lost touch when the family moved to Cincinnati and I’ve often thought of checking in with them, if I had known how.

    I did learn something from Jack I would never have known otherwise. I wondered why it was always easy to find Bic pens but never the caps. Jack’s instant reply was, “the caps are the larval form of coat hangers…”

    Sarah, my condolences to you.

  2. Delaine Adkins says:

    Jack, you were my mentor and friend. After Judy died you wanted to change the energy in your house and I needed to not work at home in the summer with a house full of teenagers so I became your basement troll. And then in September we both had to admit that school had started but we wanted to keep the routine of me working from your house Thu and Fri. You greeted me with coffee when life was good and I was stuck in an endless calendar of conference calls. I took you coffee when you were down and slow to greet the day. You are loved and missed.

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