Richard T. Palmer, 62, city police officer

January 16, 2004|By Grant Huang | Grant Huang,SUN STAFF

Richard Thomas Palmer, a retired city police officer and active church member, died of a heart attack Friday after collapsing at his Southwest Baltimore home. He was 62.

A Baltimore native, Mr. Palmer was raised on Leeds Street and eventually bought the house across the street from the one his parents had owned. He graduated in 1958 from Edmondson High School and served in the Marine Corps as a field radio operator before becoming a police officer in 1961.

"He had a photographic memory, never forgot a face - that's what made him such a good street cop," said longtime friend and fellow detective Oscar Requer.

Mr. Palmer became a police detective in 1967 and had a 10-year stint with the Criminal Investigation Division, including undercover work and work dealing with property crime. He later served in an administrative capacity, screening and performing background checks on police officer candidates before retiring in 1988.

Soon afterward he began working as a field representative with the University of Maryland Medical Center, helping disadvantaged patients find financial assistance, a job he held until his death.

"He was very caring. ... He never hesitated to help anyone in need," said his eldest daughter, Brooke Myers of Baltimore. She said he was a big man at 6 feet, 5 inches, "but he never got upset; he was kind and always very even-tempered ... like a gentle giant."

He was a longtime member of the Prince Hall Masons, a worldwide fraternity he joined in 1964 with Detective Requer and another detective, Wendell France.

"He was the kind of person you'd want as your best friend," said Mr. France, who retired from the department as the Eastern District's commander in 1997. "He was just a super guy."

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. today at All Saints Roman Catholic Church, 4408 Liberty Heights Ave., where Mr. Palmer was a member, belonged to the men's club and enjoyed singing with the New All Saints Church Choir.

Mr. Palmer also is survived by another daughter, Kerrie Palmer of Baltimore; a brother, Bernard Palmer of Catonsville; and nine grandchildren.

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