Cover photo for Carl Palmer's Obituary

Carl Palmer

Carl Burton Palmer passed away unexpectedly on June 20, 2023 due to complications suffered from a traumatic injury.  He was 79 years old. Services will be held August 19, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. at the St. Bernadette Catholic Church , 350 NW California Blvd, Port Saint Lucie, Florida 34986. A reception will follow at the church.

Carl was born in Chariton, Iowa to Leland and Maxine Palmer.  He graduated from Chariton High school in 1962 and immediately began pursuit of his dream to become a commercial airline pilot.  

After obtaining his commercial pilot's license, Carl was hired by Trans World Airlines (TWA) in 1967 as a flight engineer.  In the ensuing years, he advanced in rank to First Officer and, finally, Captain, all the while continuing his career with American Airlines following its acquisition of TWA.  His pilot ratings included multi-engine land airline transport and commercial single engine aircraft, and he was qualified to pilot and, during the course of his career, flew every model in the 700 series of Boeing's commercial aircraft, including, notably, the largest models in the Boeing fleet, the 747 and 747-4. 

One of the proudest endeavors of Carl's career was piloting civilian air transport that ferried military personnel from the Middle East in support of United States military operations in Iraq during the Desert Storm and Desert Shield interventions in Iraq in the 1990's.  For his service in this operation, he was awarded The Civilian Desert Shield and Desert Storm Medal for Outstanding Achievement by the Department of the Air Force of the United States. 

Carl retired from American Airlines in 2005.  But his flying days were far from over.  During his retirement, Carl served as an instructor for Boeing, during which he mentored and trained Air Force pilots, among others, as well as piloting new Boeing planes for delivery to numerous foreign purchasers around the world.  Regrettably, an ensuing battle with Parkinson's disease finally ended his career in the air.

Among Carl's pilot ratings, he was also rated as a lighter-than-air pilot and was an accomplished balloon pilot.  In his spare time, what little there was between flights, Carl established a successful touring business in Park City, Utah which featured balloon excursions over the breathtaking Utah landscapes surrounding Park City.  

In addition, Carl was an accomplished athlete, participating in a variety of challenging athletic activities, including, among them, scuba diving, sailing, snow skiing. cycling, marathon running, golf, motor racing and motorcycle riding (being the proud owner to his death of his Harley "Hog").  He even dabbled in several artisitic endeavors, including theatrical production and radio broadcasting, and was an accomplished dancer and musician, with skills on both saxophone and bass guitar.

In sum, Carl led an active life, full of travel and adventure; a life well-lived and admired by all who knew him; and a life worthy of the legends of many of the earlier pioneers of American aviation.

Carl is survived by his wife of 34 years, Kathryn, two sons, Ty and Dustin Palmer, both residing in Indiana, and two grandchildren Abigail and Benjamin Palmer.  He was predeceased by his parents, Leland and Maxine, his brother, Dwaine, and sister, Joann.


To send flowers to the family in memory of Carl Palmer, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Mass for Carl B. Palmer

Saturday, August 19, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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