Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the Death of Ralph Thomas Palmer

Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the Death of Ralph Thomas Palmer

Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the Death of Ralph Thomas Palmer

Ralph Thomas Palmer
March 18, 1926 – August 28, 2014

Reverend Dr. Ralph Palmer passed away Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 at the age of 88. Missionary, minister, teacher, author, artist, husband and father – Dr. Palmer had many titles.  

Ralph was originally from California and the U.S. Navy sent him to Texas Christian University (TCU) during World War II.  He was in flight training when the war ended.

At TCU Ralph met his wife Mary Maxine Jones.  They were ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 1947 and were married August 30, 1948.  Ralph earned a Bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry (TCU) in 1947, a Bachelor of Divinity at Brite Divinity School.  During his student years in Texas, Ralph pastored churches in Alvarado, Red Oak and Waco.  Ralph continued studying, earning a Master’s degree in Public Health at Yale University.  At Yale Reverend Dr. Palmer also studied the Japanese language.  Later, he received a Doctor of Ministry from Philips University and did Ph.D. studies at Duke University.  

The Palmers served as missionaries of the United Christian Missionary Society (a predecessor mission body of Global Ministries) at the Yakima Indian Mission in the state of Washington, the Bowery in Chinatown, New York City, and the Disciples of Christ Church in Jamaica (1949-1950).  During years 1952-1957 Ralph and Mary Maxine served as missionaries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Japan.  There they worked in the town of Honjo, about 300 miles northeast of Tokyo.  At first Ralph pastored a church until a Japanese pastor arrived, and later the Palmers worked in the rural evangelism efforts of the AkitaPrefecture of the United Church of Christ of Japan.  

From 1957 until 1970, Reverend Dr. Palmer served as the Executive Secretary of the Department of Missionary Selection and Training of the UCMS Division of World Mission.  In this capacity and as the Dean of the College of Missions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Ralph worked with hundreds of missionaries, recruiting candidates, and supervising their preparation for missionary service.  

In 1970 the Palmers returned to Texas.  Ralph pastored with First Christian Church, Pampa, and several other local congregations in Longview, and Slocum.  From 1978 until 1987, Reverend Dr. Palmer served as the Chair of the Science and Math Department at Jarvis Christian College.  

Ralph authored several books, including Vignettes Of A Wonderful Life!: The Amalgamated Autobiographies Of Mary Maxine And Ralph Thomas Palmer in 2011 and several online books in 2012.  His tales of his adventures and his sense of humor entertained many, and demonstrated his love of history, science, art and life.

Ralph Palmer is survived by his wife Mary Maxine, brother Louis Palmer, daughter Angella and her husband Mike Branch, daughter Celeste Palmer, grandchildren Yvonne, JT, Tamica, Anthony and Bianca Branch, sister-in-law Sue Jones, brother-in-law Bud Nystrom, and many nieces and nephews.  

A memorial service was held in celebration of Ralph Palmer’s life on Tuesday September 2, 2014 at South Hills Christian Church in Fort Worth, Texas.  Condolences may be sent to:  Reverend Mary Maxine Palmer, Broadway Plaza City View, 5301 Bryant Irvin Road Apartment 201, Fort Worth Texas 76132.  The family suggests sending memorial contributions to:  The Betty and Kenneth E. Jones Sr. Fund at Brite Divinity School, TCU Box 298130, Fort Worth, Texas 76129; DOM/Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), P.O. Box 1986, Indianapolis, Indiana 46206-1986; or The Pension of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Ministerial Assistance Fund, P.O. Box 6251, Indianapolis, Indiana 46206-6251.