Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Friend John Palmer


I got word today that John Palmer died suddenly of a heart attack. John was one of those “salt of the earth” types. He lived in Independence, Kansas, his entire life and over the years he became a major player in the educational process of that small southeast Kansas town.

John was also a huge part of the local Church of the Nazarene. That’s how I met him. When I was called there as pastor in 1980, it was John and Belva and Paul and Ann who showed up at my Del City, Oklahoma, parsonage to load our furniture and move us to Independence. We had a U-Haul and John’s stock trailer and between the two we got everything loaded.  

John was married to Belva and they had two gorgeous daughters, both grown now with children of their own. Johnna and Faith were model ladies and great leaders in the youth group. They both married wonderful young men who cared for them in the way “dad” would have wanted them to. 

John was a churchman. He loved the Lord and he loved his church He supported his pastor through deep valleys or when the church was doing very well. He was a friend.  

I know that as a pastor I’m supposed to talk about how Heaven is richer today, but I’m still dealing with the fact that our community is poorer. John leaves a huge void.  

I had an older lady evangelist tell me once that “until God is through with you the devil can’t shoot straight enough to kill you.”

That helped me back 35 years ago, but somehow today it doesn’t do much for me. It just seems like John still had too many things to do and too many conversations to hold and too many lessons to pass along to others. 

Though I rarely saw John over the past 22 years, it was always a treat when I did and I’m missing him today.


  1. Tim:

    Thank you for beautifully expressed thoughts for a very common man, transformed to extraordinary by his love for God.

    Sarah Gomez

  2. Tim,

    Thanks for remembering John, a man of God and our friend. I'll miss him.

    Like you, I only saw John a few times a year on our visits to Independence. Usually Sundays at church and Tuesdays at Brahms for "senior breakfast" where we would visit and get caught up.

    John knew I liked to fish and would invite me out to his lake to try my luck. He also new I was always in need of wood for our BBQ and offered me a pecan tree that had blown down below the dam of his lake. I never got around to cutting up that tree, as I always thought there would be plenty of time.........

    My thoughts and prayers will be with Belva and their family.

    Phil Shoyer

  3. What a beautiful tribute to the patriarch of a fine family.