June 1999

E. (Edmund) Perry Palmer

Businessman/Philanthropist

E. (Edmund) Perry Palmer

As a young child, E. Perry Palmer’s parents instilled in him social responsibility. “My parents and grandparents passed along the ethic that if you are blessed with the wherewithal, you must serve your fellow man.” With his quiet demeanor, always shunning the limelight, Mr. Palmer has done just that! He is the President and Director of Palmer Memorial Chapel in Columbia. His success as a businessman, philanthropist, and humanitarian is intertwined with his devotion to mankind. His roots in his native state are deep. His paternal grandfather, Robert John Palmer, and maternal grandfather, Eugene Harriott Dibble, served in the South Carolina Legislature during Reconstruction. Palmer, the son of Edmund Perry Palmer and Ellie Naudin Dibble Palmer, was born on August 9, 1935, in Sumter, S.C. His father was a funeral director and embalmer; so, young Perry was born into the funeral profession. He would later marry Grace Justine Brooks, of Aiken, S.C., a funeral director’s daughter, who is now deceased. They are the parents of two children, Brooks Naudin Palmer and Ema Pinn Palmer. He prepared himself for his life’s work by obtaining an outstanding education. He was educated at Mather Academy in Camden, S.C., Monson Academy in Mass., and North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. He earned his professional service degree from the American Academy of Funeral Services in New York. Active in his profession, Mr. Palmer has been President of the South Carolina Mortician’s Association, Secretary of the Board, Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Directors, and District Governor of the National Funeral Directors and Mortician’s Association, as well as 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President and President. In each position, he has endeavored to give leadership in every aspect of the funeral service profession. His efforts have earned many honors, including a citation from his former professional school, the American Academy. Palmer has touched the lives of many as a philanthropist and humanitarian. In 1998, he received the United Way of the Midlands Humanitarian Award, the first African American to receive the award since its inception in 1984. It was well deserved! On July 7, 1999, he received from the State of South Carolina, presented by Governor Jim Hodges, an “Order of the Silver Crescent”; June 14, 2000, he received from the Greater Columbia Community Relations Council, the Distinguished Service Award and on April 19, 2002, he received the Man of the Year award from the 100 Black Men. Throughout the years, this gentle man has served on boards such as Columbia Urban League, Indian Waters Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Benjamin E. Mays Academy for Leadership Development, James R. Clark Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, Columbia Museum of Art, South Carolina State Museum Foundation, United Way of the Midlands and Heathwood Hall Episcopal School. As a community servant, he has personally sponsored six adopt-a-school programs and six youth and adult recreation programs. He has provided scholarships for students to attend the Benjamin E. Mays Academy for Leadership Development. He has been an avid supporter of African American business development. Among his awards are a Joint Concurrent Resolution from the South Carolina Senate and House of Representatives for his humanitarian efforts, and induction into the South Carolina Black Hall of Fame. He is an active member of Wesley United Methodist Church. Palmer is an example of a business leader who has devoted his time and energy to serving his community and to helping the less fortunate.