John Palmer

John Franklin Palmer

December 20, 1922 - April 28, 2019
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John Franklin Palmer, MD, "Papa", a 23-year resident of Edgewater, MD and previously of Kensington, MD, died at his home on Sunday, April 28, 2019, following three year battle with cancer. He was 97.

Born December 20, 1922, in Chicago, IL to the late Lewis James and Maude Pulver Palmer, he graduated from Watervliet High School in Watervliet, MI, the University of Colorado with his undergraduate degree, and the University of Michigan with his medical degree. John enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1944. He piloted 14 missions before his B-24 was shot down over Vienna, Austria. He ensured all his crew parachuted safely from the falling plane before parachuting himself. He and his crew were taken prisoners of war on 2/21/1945. They were liberated from POW camp two months later by General Patton who stood on a tank and announced: "I'm going to get you men the hell out of here". John was awarded the Purple Heart. He served in the US Air Force Reserves until 1955 with the rank of 1st Lieutenant. He worked at the Food and Drug Administration as the Officer Director in the Office of New Drugs, retiring after 35 years. John was an avid Michigan sports fan and enjoyed doing home exchanges in Europe and spending winters in Lake Worth, FL.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, Gilbert L. Palmer and his former wife, Lucille Scott Palmer.

John is survived by his wife, of 33 years, Linda Montgomery Palmer; two children, Robert Vincent Palmer of Cleveland, OH and Michele D. Comer; three granddaughters, Kimberly Brooke Van Pelt of Davidsonville, MD, Morgan Paige Johnson of Parker, CO, and Courtney Christine Johnson of Edgewater, MD; his twin brother, James A. Palmer of Springhill, FL; four nephews, Max Scott of Boulder, CO, Gilbert Palmer of West Palm Beach, FL, Allan Palmer of Boston, MA, and Kurt Palmer, Toledo, OH; two nieces, Linda Scott Stransky of Aurora, CO, and Cynthia Palmer of Toledo, OH; and two great-grandchildren.

A graveside service will be offered on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at 10am at Arlington National Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made in John's name to Hospice of the Chesapeake, 90 Ritchie Hwy., Pasadena, MD 2122.

Online tributes and condolences may be made by using the link on this page.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Wednesday, August 21st, 2019 | 10:00am
    Wednesday, August 21st, 2019 10:00am
    Arlington National Cemetery
    Memorial Drive
    ARLINGTON, VA 22211
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Anne M. Vaughan

Posted at 10:39pm
The members of John's extended family continue to mourn his loss. We very much enjoyed his presence as both a gracious
host and as an appreciative guest, and he was an enthusiastic travel companion. We appreciated his knowledge in regard to a remarkably wide number of subjects, not only medicine, but also, most especially, automobiles and Michigan football! He delighted in the successes that we achieved and was sympathetic to us in our failures. We were fortunate to have had him as a part of our lives for so many years.

Anne Montgomery Vaughan, Tony Morrison, Duncan and Wylie; Lori Morrison and Claire; Lisa and Jon Walters, Margaret and Ava; Erik Vaughan and Rachel.

Clarence and Juliette Kragh

Posted at 11:29am
We want to tell you that you have our deepest sympathy for the loss of John and we will always remember him and the pleasant times and memories we shared and will miss him. With our thoughts and love, Juliette and Clarence Kragh

Tom Holohan M.D.

Posted at 12:58am
I knew Dr. John Palmer when we were both at the FDA during the late 1980s. He was an excellent physician and scientist, and a great asset to both the government and to the public. Despite his significant accomplishments as a WWII combat pilot, and later as a physician, he was modest and unassuming, and unfailingly courteous to all. As a former Navy flier, I asked him about piloting the B-24 Liberator, an aircraft notoriously challenging to fly. He told me about being shot down, and added – with a smile – that one of the worst parts of that experience occurred when the Germans were moving their prisoners, and he was strafed by Army Air Force planes.
My daughter, Maureen, worked with Dr. Palmer, and when I told her of his passing, she remarked that he was a “humble hero” – a fitting epitaph, I believe.
Tom Holohan M.D.

Posted at 12:08pm
I joined FDA's Bureau of Drugs in April, 1970 and Dr. Palmer was already employed there. I immediately found him to be a friendly person, and as time went on also found him to be a person of great integrity. I retired in 1993 and, as I recall , he remained on duty for another few years. He remained loyal to his Chicago roots and his ties with the University of Michigan-that we shared.
I have added him to my departed souls prayer list.


Posted at 07:45am
To the family,

Please accept my condolences for the loss of your loved one. I hope that you too can find the needed comfort from the words at Psalm 46:1 and 2 Corinthians 1:3,4.

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