Spencer John Palmer, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend, died unexpectedly at age 73, on Monday, Nov. 27, 2000 in Provo, Utah.
He was born to Eliza Elizabeth Hancock and John Leroy Pal-mer on Oct. 4, 1927 in Eden, Arizona. His boyhood home was in Thatcher where he went to school, graduating from Gila Jr. College before serving in the
After graduating from Brigham Young University in 1952, he was inducted into the US Army where he served as chaplain in the South Korean military conflict. Following this experience he devoted his life to Asian studies, taking a masters and doctors degree from UC Berkeley in Asian history and world religion. He joined the religion faculty at BYU in 1962 where he taught world religion for more than thirty years and assisted in the establishment of the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies. During his teaching tenure he traveled extensively in Korea, Japan, China, India, South Africa, Israel, and the Middle East. He authored, co-authored, and edited some thirteen books on world religions and religious practices.
As a member of the LDS Church, he served as a home teacher, Sunday School teacher, bishop, mission and temple president in South Korea, regional representative in Southeast Asia, and in two stake presidencies.
In 1956, Spencer married Shirley Ann Hadley in the Salt Lake Temple. He is survived by his wife; three of four children, Dwight (Melinda Cardon), Jennette (D. Chris Purcell) and James (Tammy Stokes); 12 grandchildren: Brandon, Kevin, Kristen, and John Palmer; James, Matthew, Stephanie, Stacie and Michael Purcell; and Spencer, Steven and Zachary Palmer; three of seven siblings, Rachel Palmer Hooper (Frank Richardson), Frances Palmer (Robert Laidlaw), Nathan Motes, and an extended family of nieces, nephews and cousins. Preceding him in death are his parents, his infant son John Leroy Palmer, and siblings Ruby Palmer Hooper, Callis Palmer, Ivins Palmer, and Delmar Motes.
Spencer's influence was felt most through his personal relationships with grandchildren, family members, missionaries, students, colleagues, and world dignitaries. It could be said of him that he could walk with kings but never lose the common touch. Above all, he loved the Lord; his concern for his fellowmen exemplified this discipleship.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, December 2, 2000, at 12 noon, at the Edgemont 11th Ward LDS Chapel, 3035 Mojave Lane, Provo. Friends may call at the Berg Mortuary of Provo, 185 East Center Street, Friday evening from
6-8 p.m., or Saturday morning at the Ward Chapel from 10 to 11:30 a.m. prior to services.
Interment, East Lawn Memorial Hills, Provo.