Although his mind was with him until the end, Ralph Palmers (79) body succumbed to cancer on Friday, November 23rd. Born into a farming family in Gilman, Iowa consisting of his parents, Harold and Grace Palmer, along with sister Leta Grace (Lacina) Ralph’s roots for hard work and innovation were deeply set. His love for baseball took him to the University of Iowa, where he played for a year before moving to Cedar Rapids and graduating from Coe College in 1961 with a major in biology and a minor in business. It was at Coe that he fell in love with Linda (Andrews) and was married in 1960. As most things that Ralph was involved with, he got right with it and soon had Cindy (Taylor), Rebecca (Keenan), and Jeff, all while living in a trailer house in SW Cedar Rapids. Ralph worked several jobs through the early years including cost accounting at Wilson Foods, sales for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and store Manager at Theisens in Anamosa. In 1968, he began a long career with Ar-Jay Building Products, later known as The Ar-Jay Center, where he retired in 2015. During this period, he touched many people locally and throughout the country with his sales training, his motivational speaking, and his writing of an article for a trade publication for 21 years.
Ralph was involved in many, many organizations, trade groups and charities, but the ones closest to his heart was Camp Courageous in Monticello and the Shrine. While blessed to have healthy children and grandchildren, he always knew that there were many children that had challenges and wanted to help. He may have never known their names, looked them in the eyes, or seen their smiles, but he always knew that he was helping them and their families live a more fulfilled life.
Many also knew Ralph through his hobbies that included horseshoe pitching, basketball, and running. As with anything that he did, he always challenged himself to be the best that he could be. Up until this summer, Ralph and Linda missed few Cedar Rapids Kernels games, and also enjoyed watching the team at Spring Training in Ft Myers, Florida.
Ralph always felt that his, along with Linda’s, greatest contribution was raising 3 responsible children, that in turn raised 4 grandchildren that will be solid contributors to society. He often commented how responsible parenting could cure many of the worlds challenges. Cody Palmer (26) and Sara Palmer (24), along with Mason Taylor (22) and Che Lynn Taylor (20) have all been fortunate to learn “Grandads” wisdom, attitude, and positive outlook on life.
We will be having a private graveside service, but invite everybody to a Celebration of Life event at the El Kahir Shrine on Saturday December 22 at 3:00. Instead of flowers, Ralph would be honored if memorial contributions would be made to either Camp Courageous, or the El Kahir Shrine Endowment fund.
In all, please remember Ralph’s favorite saying and the credo in which he lived by, “You keep your enthusiasm by giving it away!”