Ad Majorem Aliorum Gloriam, Servivit Domino
“For the Greater Glory of Others, He Served The LORD”
0n May 24, 2022, Luther William Palmer was welcomed in Paradise to reunite, to have and to hold, for all eternity, his dearly beloved Wife, Virginia and many, many others.
Bill, as he preferred, was born August 11, 1927, in Clarion, Utah. He was the youngest of six children (Beulah, Agnes, Mac, Ruth, and Robert, who all preceded him in death) to Addie Murray Palmer and Luther Orrin Palmer. Bill was closest to his mother whose Scottish/English heritage bred a knowing way about her. Addie’s presence would be the first in a series of influential women (from his sisters to grade-school teachers to his “perfect” Wife and finally to his three devoted daughters) to bless Bill’s life and the Palmer name. Luther Orrin, Bill’s father, a farmer by necessity, a businessman at heart, was a skilled carpenter in his own right. Bill’s paternal great-great grandfather, Abraham Palmer, was a bodyguard to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and was the first member in the Palmer lineage of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.
Doctrine and Covenants 64:33
Although born at the peak of the Roaring ‘20s, Bill came of age in the Dirty ‘30s during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. When not voraciously reading any book he could get his hands on, Bill spent his formative years laboring as a farmer on his parents Flowell farm, saving every penny, nickel, and dime he earned, learning the invaluable lessons of thrift and hard work.
Bill began his business career with his life savings earned before and during his time in the Navy. Bill enlisted in the United States Navy at 17 years old and honorably served his country from 1946 to 1948 and was later called back to serve his second commission in the Korean War. From this meager beginning, Bill embarked on his amazing career as an entrepreneur. Bill’s first business was selling pigs, cross-bred sheep and potatoes. He partnered with his brother Robert to sell bread and milk. Their first acquisition was one of their milk and bread competitors, Bill Rose Distribution. From this purchase, they created Palmer and Palmer. While carrying out his second commission for the US Navy on Treasure Island in the early ‘50s, Bill and Robert bought Warner Truck Line. From the purchase of Warner came the acquisition of the Salt Lake Delta and creation of Palmer Brothers Inc. With BPI’s purchase of Salt Lake Kanab, Bill and Robert had created the largest intrastate carrier in the state of Utah. In the decades to follow Bill would create or purchase the following companies, going concerns or buildings: Utah Freightways, P.B.T Enterprises, REDEX, Link Trucking, REPCO, Metropolitan Finance Co., Metropolitan Plaza, and Metropolitan Finance LLC. Through it all Bill ensured the well-being of his numerous employees and partners and took particular comfort in being able to provide for his family.
Bill’s single greatest hope was that his children would know gospel truth and apply that knowledge in their lives. His first child, Cynthia, married Woodrow (Woody) Terry, is so fondly remembered by her dad as a little girl holding her mother’s hand walking on the streets of Berkeley with her baby sister in a stroller. Cynthia certainly favors her mother. His second child, Claudia, ever the debutante, married Richard (Rick) Watts, would be called upon regularly to sing Bill’s favorite song, Amazing Grace, the song they sang together just two days before his passing. His third child, the irrepressible Stephanie, married Jeffrey (Jeff) Bernson, held her dad’s hand as he left this mortal existence and fought for nearly thirteen years to assuage the pain Bill experienced after losing his dearly beloved. And finally, Scott, Bill’s only son, married Suzanne (Sue) Colt, spent many years working side by side with his father in the “business.” There were also many adventurous years of hunting, fishing, and hiking through the Wind River Range, Kodiak Island, and several of our United States and even Musk Ox in Canada’s Northwest Territory. Most importantly as his daughters have done, Scott faithfully followed his father’s lead in his absolute dedication to the Church.
Bill believed faith in God was best exemplified through service. He practiced those beliefs with unwavering commitment to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Nothing embodies the practice of his faith than his full performance of his Church callings. Bill believed that many times we are the answers to others’ prayers. As such Bill has served in many Church callings. To name a few: Deacon Quorum’s President, Teacher’s Quorum President, the Mutual Presidency; on Guam he was Group Leader starting LDS services on the island, Scoutmaster, counselor in Elders Quorum Presidency, Ward Young Men’s President, Stake Sunday School Presidency, Explorer Advisor, counselor in the Elders Quorum, President of the Elders Quorum, counselor in the Bishopric, Bishop ( during which time he oversaw the construction of the Canyon Rim Stake Center), Counselor in the Stake Presidency (twice), organized his Stake’s Project Temple, oversaw the welfare program and dairy operation, Ward Young Men’s President, member of the High Council, coordinated emergency response to flooding, High Priest Group Leader, leader of Special Interest Group, oversaw the Cottonwood 1st and 5th Ward project to construct a beautiful pavilion called the LW “Bill” Palmer Park & Pavilion; ordinance worker in the Jordan River Temple, ordinance worker in the Salt Lake Temple. He continued as a Temple worker into his 90s. In each of these callings he gave his all and is worthy of the commendation: “Well done thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Matthew 25:21.
The real story of Bill Palmer’s life begins and ends with one person, Virginia. The greatest event of his early life was the day he first saw Virginia. It was around the first day of his Junior year. He watched “with no particular interest” as others exited the school bus, until Virginia Crosland stepped off. His response to first seeing Virginia: “Wow, isn’t she beautiful.” While that was a seminal event; the happiest day of his life was September 7, 1948, the day of their marriage. Virginia and Bill were married and sealed forever in the Manti Temple. Throughout their marriage, they maintained a letter correspondence rivaled in US history only by Abigail and John Adams. In over 63 years of marriage, there never was a cross word exchanged.
Bill affirmed that God led him to Virginia. He must know God led him to us. In his searching memoir transcribed and initial editing by his loving granddaughter Paige, he states that the despair he felt when Virginia passed soon would pass. His memoir bears the title: This Too Shall Pass. The day before his accident he was with his daughter, Stephanie, and she said she would be sad when he died and he told her, “Oh, you’ll get over it.”
Bill, know that your hopes for your children have been realized. They know. They know your grace. They know the fine example you showed as a husband and a father. They know your commitment to the Church. They know how faith and service to our Heavenly Father enables a life of joy, of peace and of love. They know. So, while the pain and sorrow of no longer seeing your smile in this mortal life may very well pass, our testimony to the gift of your grace upon us shall never pass.
Thank you, Bill Palmer, for your life. We love you.
Funeral services to celebrate the life of Luther W. Palmer will be held Saturday, June 4, 2022, at 2:00 p.m., with the viewing at 12:30 p.m., at Larkin Sunset Gardens, located at 1950 E. 10600 S., Sandy, Utah 84092. In lieu of flowers please make donations to the Missionary Fund of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
To view previously recorded service, please click on the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/M8TwjJnedXn1hN6egktfYuoTC8wtCrBfyje0Xsx1kdaPkqdd6xASk-TuVxtVrubV.ot3heY5TyursIbjC?startTime=1654370746000
To our dear Palmer family,
Loved your dad so much. His kindness, caring concern were always apparent. Giving him a hug was automatic. Bless all of you dear family. Covid will prevent us from attending his Veiwing or Funeral. Love,
Jeff and Melanie Wheelwright.
Brother Palmer was such a sweet and caring greeter at the Salt Lake Temple. I loved bringing him a calendar every year. Our businesses crossed paths for many years. Heaven truly has gained an Angel.
Bill felt almost immortal to me. He was a steady, dedicated, kind man that made significant contributions where ever he was - a "lift where you stand" person. I've spent some time thinking about his happy reunion with Virginia.
Love you Claudia! I cannot come in person today, but will watch the Zoom service.
I have been so blessed to have had my wonderful friends, Bill and Virginia Palmer, in my life.
Dearest friends pass away one by one but leave countless cherished memories forever.
My sincere condolences to your family.
How I loved being greeted by Brother Palmer in the Salt Lake Tempe early mornings on Tuesdays. He was a joy and a delight.
We are so sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. We worked with him at the Jordan River and the Salt Lake Temple. He was an amazing man. We loved him and will miss him