Norman Hart Palmer, Jr.

Norman Hart Palmer, Jr., 99, died peacefully on Friday, December 4, 2020, at Riverside Hospital. He was born in Spartanburg, S.C., on November 6, 1921, to Norman Hart and Esther Cooper Palmer.  At the age of 8, his family moved to Ridgeway, S. C.

In 1938, Norman attended Clemson College, studying electrical engineering. In June 1942, at Fort Jackson, S.C., he enlisted in the Army Air Force as an Aviation Cadet. He was called to active duty in January 1943. After training in Lakeland, FL., Courtland, AL. and Craig Field, AL. where he received his coveted silver wings, Norman received instruction in flying P-47’s at Hammond, LA.  In Nov. 1943, Norman was commissioned 2Lt. rated as a pilot.  In 1944, he boarded the H.M.S. Mauritania bound for Liverpool, England. After processing in Stone and Liverpool, he was moved to Lymington, England, where he joined the 10th Fighter Squadron. Carentan, Normandy, was his next airfield, followed by Orley, Lyon, Laon, and Ochey, France.  It was in Ochey that he and his fellow pilots formed a dance band, Norman playing the piano and greatly enjoyed entertaining at a local hospital. His final assignments were Giebelstadt and Mannheim, Germany.  Lieutenant Palmer flew 106 sorties and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with 20 oak leaf clusters to the Air Medal.

Norman remained with the Air Force, serving as a jet pilot instructor (T-33’s and F-80’s) and supervisor of pilot training; as Management Analysis Officer and Chief of the Evaluation Division, Management Analysis Directorate HQ TAC. Lt. Col. Palmer retired from the Air Force as Assistant Director Management Analysis HQ TAC while stationed at Langley Air Force Base in 1965, where he was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for meritorious service. He returned to the Air Force in 1966 as civilian Chief of a Management Analysis division, retiring in 1994.

Norman attended the Naval War College, Clemson University, University of Maryland, and George Washington University where he received a master’s degree with honors in Business Administration.

During retirement, Norman was devoted to his family, St. Andrews, and his church family. He served on the Vestry and was a Stephen Minister, a lay one-to-one ministry that he deeply enjoyed.

In 1945, Norman met the love of his life, Anne Chaffin Doty of Winnsboro, South Carolina, whom he married on Aug. 30, 1950. Following 69 treasured years, Anne predeceased Norman in 2019. He is survived by his daughters, Elizabeth (Doty) and Susan and her husband, Stephen Kelliher and their children, Caitlin and Stephen Kelliher, his wife, Mekio, and their son, Logan Kelliher. He is also survived by his sister, Nancy Palmer Milling, and her husband, Bob Hubbard of Charlotte and Mark Doty of Bishopville, brother of his wife, Anne. Norman was blessed to know and enjoy the company of each of his many nieces and nephews and their children.

A service will be held at St. Andrews Episcopal Church when all attendance limitations are lifted. The interment will follow at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Ridgeway, S.C.

In lieu of flowers, to honor Norman’s love of beautiful music, please make donations to “The Music Fund” of St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 45 Main St. Newport News, VA. 23601.

God speed, Starry 5!

Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23601.