Palmer, James Kenneth

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Dr. James Kenneth Palmer, 80, of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania passed away at home surrounded by his loving family on Saturday, October 28, 2006.

Born in Camden, New Jersey in 1926, he graduated from Merchantville High School, Merchantville, N.J. in 1943. Jim attended Juniata College one year prior to enlisting in the Navy. He trained as a fighter pilot, but the war ended before he was deployed.

Returning to Juniata College, James completed his B.S. in 1948 and met the love of his life, Elizabeth Ann Leach. In 1948, Jim began his graduate studies at Pennsylvania State University in Food Science, and a year later, Jim and Betsey married. Jim finished his doctorate in Biochemistry in January, 1953.

He was employed by the Connecticut Agricultural Research Station, the Virginia Institute for Scientific Research and United Fruit Company before he, Betsey and their family of six children moved to Australia where he worked for 2-1/2 years at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in North Ryde, New South Wales. They traveled home by way of Europe, camping for six months across the continent. Once back in the United States, Jim taught Food Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for four years, and then did research at the Natick Army Research Laboratory also in Massachusetts for two years.

In 1975, Jim returned to teaching at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, where he remained until retirement in 1991. While at Virginia Tech, Jim also shared his expertise on an international level through fellowships at University of Perdinia in Kandy, Sri Lanka, a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, and at the Tropical Research Center in Tainan, Taiwan.

After his retirement, Jim and Betsey went to Kenya for over a year while Jim taught at the Egerton University in Njoro. Jim published over 50 articles in professional journals. He was a leader in his field and pioneered many methods for studying the complex composition of foods and improving the quality of bananas. He was an avid fisherman and hunter and loved the outdoors.

James is survived by his wife of 57 years, Elizabeth Leach Palmer; three daughters, Rebecca Bradley (Michael), Helen Peterson (Clayton), Sarah Palmer (Bates Gill); and three sons, Walter Palmer (Kathryn Ting), Thomas Palmer (Pauline), Chris Palmer (Janet); 16 grandchildren; sister, Mary Russo (Tony) and brother, Richard Palmer (Rosemarie). He was preceded in death by an infant son, James Michael.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, November 1, 2006 in St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Shippensburg with the Rev. Ted Babcock officiating. The family will receive friends immediately following the service at the church. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Lutheran Home Care Services, Inc., 2700 Luther Drive, Chambersburg, Pa. 17201 or Hope Lodge of Central Pennsylvania, 125 Lucy Avenue, Hummelstown, Pa. 17036. Arrangements are by Fogelsanger-Bricker Funeral Home, Inc., Shippensburg. On-line condolences may be expressed at