Ransford W. Palmer

November 21, 1932January 22, 2023
Obituary of Ransford W. Palmer
Ransford W. Palmer Ransford W. Palmer, 90, of Prince George’s County, Maryland transitioned to the Lord peacefully with his family close during the early morning of January 22, 2023. Ransford was born in the parish of St. Catherine, Jamaica on November 21, 1932, to James and Cordella Palmer. His determination and excellent remarks in primary and middle school paved a pathway to study at the prestigious St. Jago High School in Spanish Town, Jamaica. Ransford’s stellar performance earned him a scholarship to attend college in the United States at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1961 and 1962 he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Economics from Marquette, and later in 1966 earned his Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Economics from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. During his studies at Marquette, he met Sally, his loving wife of 58 years. They moved to New York and later to Connecticut where Dr. Palmer taught before relocating to Washington, D.C. where he was recruited by The Catholic University of America. After quickly rising through the academic ranks, Ransford was offered the position of Chairman in the Department of Economics at Howard University, also in Washington, D.C. Dr. Palmer found this to be an opportunity of a lifetime, because he envisioned the development of the first and only Ph.D. program in Economics at any Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the nation. Within a couple years the dream of establishing a Ph.D. program became a reality and the department became a beacon of excellence with many of the graduates assuming international ministry and cabinet posts, leadership positions at organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and of course numerous faculty appointments around the world. During their early years in Washington, D.C., Ransford and Sally started their family by welcoming three children. Throughout the years the proud parents joyfully became grandparents to three grandchildren. Faith was forever present in Ransford’s life, and he was a devoted Catholic. He strongly believed in the Lord and was a member of St. Matthias Catholic Church for over 30 years. Ransford served on numerous committees and councils. He thoroughly enjoyed being a lector and in his later years joined the choir. Ransford was also a member of the Knights of Columbus and provided guidance to those joining the Catholic church. With his son Geoffrey, Ransford toured Vatican City and went on a religious pilgrimage to visit and attend mass at the House of the Virgin Mary in Ephesus, Turkey. Ransford enjoyed woodworking, gardening, and photography. His enjoyment of nature was often interwoven with these hobbies, which he and Sally were able to share with their children. In addition to these passions, Ransford frequently visited Jamaica where he incorporated his American family with friends and relatives of the island nation. The Palmer family home was always open to visitors from Jamaica and aboard. In 2013, Ransford retired after 40 years of service at Howard University, and 50 years of tirelessly transforming students’ lives. To date, the Ph.D. in Economics that Dr. Palmer spearheaded, is still the only doctoral program of its kind at any HBCU in the United States. Ransford is preceded in death by his parents, all 12 of his siblings, beloved niece Gail, and many nephews and cousins. He is survived by his wife Sally, children Geoffrey (Sarita), Christopher, and Laura; grandchildren, Andrew, Elizabeth, and Sierra; adoring nieces, nephews, scores of cousins, and relatives across the globe. A mass of Christian burial will occur Friday, February 17, 2023, 12:00pm at St. Matthias Catholic Church, 9475 Annapolis Road, Lanham, Maryland 20706. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Palmer family.

Show your support

Past Services

Friday, February 17, 2023

Mass of Christian Burial