Warren Talmadge Palmer
February 22, 1929 – October 6, 2021
On October 6, 2021, Warren Talmadge Palmer, loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, died peacefully in Arlington, VA at the age of 92. Warren led an extraordinary life. A native of Middletown, Ohio, he was the oldest of six children born to Walla Rex Palmer and Edna May Dougherty Palmer. Born in 1929, he grew up during the Great Depression and never forgot the blessing of living on a farm as men stopped by offering to work for food.
He went to a one room schoolhouse up until the eighth grade. Warren often joked that he could name every single classmate in his elementary school classes - there was only one other student in his grade level. As a high school student, he excelled in mathematics, placing second in Ohio on the statewide mathematics test for high school students and setting a school record which was never broken. He graduated from Middletown High School in 1946 and joined the U.S. Army. The Army - and Nancy - changed his life.
Warren served three years enlisted service in the U.S. Army. He first became a specialist in telephone and switchboard circuits at the Signal School, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. He earned his wings and was later assigned to the Division Signal Company of the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, NC where he was a “pole climber”, joining other farm boys riding mules in remote locations to do repair and maintenance on telephone lines. His company commander noted that Warren was doing well and had scored unusually high on the Army entrance aptitude test, getting a score attained by only one person out of every 20,000. With that encouragement, he applied for, and was accepted, at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Warren became the first person in his family to graduate from college and inspired his siblings to dream big - his three younger brothers all graduated from the United States Naval Academy.
Warren graduated from West Point in 1954 and was academically ranked 40th in a class of 633. Rather than concentrate completely on his own studies, he served as academic coach for his 30 Company M-2 classmates. Not a single one of his original 30 classmates failed to graduate West Point due to academics. This was a remarkable achievement. Warren was a very humble man. He felt that it was due to the dedication and hard work of his classmates but hoped that, in some small way, it was due to his support. In recognition of his efforts, Warren was always asked by his classmates to sit front and center in every M-2 group picture of class reunions. While at West Point, he also was elected as the M-2 representative to the General Committee.
Warren met his Nancy in the bay window of the Catholic Chapel at West Point. Both were in their first year of college but it was meant to be. Although Warren was a highly skilled chess player and served as Captain of the Army Chess Team for three years at West Point, he confessed to family that he really liked the team because the competitions in New York City gave him an opportunity to see Nancy. They were married in 1956 and travelled the world together for the next 63 years. Warren said that the greatest blessing in his life was to be able to share it with Nancy. Their nickname for each other was “OAO” - my “One and Only”.
Warren’s career as an Army officer circumnavigated the globe - Korea, Germany, Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Thailand, Vietnam, Virginia, New Jersey and Michigan. While working full time and raising four children with Nancy, Warren continued his education, earning an M.S. in Engineering from Purdue University, studying at the U.S. Army War College and earning a Ph.D. from NYU’s School of Engineering and Science. Upon receiving his doctorate in 1971, he was awarded the NYU Founder’s Day Certificate for achieving a Ph.D. with exceptional academic performance. Warren’s love of math was reflected in one of his hobbies. During his many travels, he would spend his time waiting at airports trying to solve mathematical problems that had never been solved. He was successful on one occasion and, as a result, his name and his solution are enshrined in the records of Washington, D.C.’s famed Smithsonian Institution.
Warren had a distinguished military career, retiring as a full colonel. His awards included Legion of Merit with 1 oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with 10 oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Ranger Tab, Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal. He also received the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm for recognition of deeds of valor or heroic conduct while in combat with the enemy. Following his retirement in 1980, Warren worked as an engineer with Norden Systems in Connecticut and with DTE in Detroit, MI.
Warren was a quiet, humble and kind man. He lived a life of faith, love and joy. When Warren entered the Army as a private in 1946, he initiated a family tradition of serving the U.S. Army. Two of his children are retired Army officers. Six of his grandsons graduated from West Point, two granddaughters are U.S. Army Reserve and one grandson serves as an Army chaplain. He stayed actively involved as a West Point alumnus, working with classmates to have a bronze of the West Point mascot (“Hannibal” the mule) stand at the entrance of the United States Military Academy on the occasion of their 50th class reunion. For sixteen years, he volunteered as Memorial Liaison to write TAPS articles for fallen classmates. He was loved by many and was blessed to have such a large circle of family and friends.
Warren was preceded in death by Nancy, the girl he loved for 70 years. He is survived by his four children Martha (Cornelius) Rogers, Warren (Victoria) Palmer, Maureen (Joseph) Schafer and John Palmer, as well as 18 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren all of whom Warren loved deeply and all of whom loved their “Papa”.
A private funeral Mass will be held in Virginia, followed by burial with full military honors at the United States Military Academy.
10:00 am - 11:00 am
West Point Cemetery
Monday, October 11, 2021
Mass of Christian Burial
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Warren Talmadge Palmer
October 9, 2021
As one of the many Our Lady of Victory families who treasured dear Nancy as teacher, spiritual guide and friend, we had the great privilege to enjoy Warren’s company at Father Terry Kerner’s gatherings in Dearborn. Warren was a remarkable gentleman and truly treasured his family, faith and country.
While this is the end of a beautiful era on earth, Warren and Nancy are celebrating their joyous eternity in Heaven.
Peace, The Olis, Quick, Bak and English Families of Our Lady of Victory