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Remembering Earl Palmer

May 30, 2023
"He was a personal friend of many of our founders and a key early champion of the College's innovative vision."

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Earl Palmer, a beloved former Board member, faculty member, and friend of Regent College, died on April 25, 2023, in Seattle. He was 91 years old.

President Jeff Greenman said, "Regent College was deeply blessed by Earl Palmer's long and significant association with us. He was a personal friend of many of our founders and a key early champion of the College's innovative vision. He contributed in so many ways—as a summer school teacher, as a Board member, and as an advocate and cheerleader. We join with those who mourn his loss and give thanks to God for his vibrant life of faith and for his faithful and fruitful ministry."

Earl Palmer will be remembered as a legendary pastor, teacher, and mentor. Over the course of a lifetime in ministry, Earl served in pastoral ministries at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, Union Church in Manila, First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, and The National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. Earl served on Regent College's Board of Governors from 1997 to 2005.

In all these places, as at Regent College, Earl was known for his commitment to expositional preaching of biblical texts, interest in the work of theologians such as Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and engagement with theological themes in classic and contemporary literature, with particular focus on the works of such authors as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Regent Audio listeners will be familiar with his teaching on these and other topics.

Longtime Regent faculty member Darrell Johnson offered the following reflection on Earl's influence in his life.

“Two people (in addition to my wife Sharon) have had the greatest influence on my life, faith, and ministry. One was my fraternal grandmother. The other was Earl Palmer. It was Earl who helped me see Jesus so clearly while in university; it was he who gave me a love for the Word; it was he who showed me the power of expository preaching; it was he who advocated for me to St. John's Presbyterian church near UCLA as Senior Pastor at the age of 27; it was he who advocated for me to Union Church of Manila; it was he (along with Gordon Smith) who encouraged me to join the faculty of Regent; and it was he who so many times encouraged me as a preacher. I shall miss him dearly.”

Earl is survived by his wife Shirley, their three adult children, and eight grandchildren.

A service for Earl Palmer will be held at 11 am on Saturday, June 24, 2023, at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle.

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