T. Vail Palmer, Jr.

Barclay Press books by Palmer

T. Vail Palmer Jr. is retired.  He is a member and recorded minister at Freedom Friends Church (unaffiliated) in Salem, Oregon.

Palmer grew up as a member of  Concord (Pennsylvania) Meeting. Around the time of his birth it had become one of the first united meetings, belonging to both the Hicksite and the Orthodox Philadelphia Yearly Meetings.  

Palmer was first recorded as a minister in New England Yearly Meeting (Friends United Meeting); that recording was transferred to Western Yearly Meeting (FUM).  His second recording was in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Friends General Conference); that recording was transferred to Northwest Yearly Meeting (Evangelical Friends International). His third recording was in the convergent Freedom Friends Church.

Vail Palmer graduated from George School, a Friends boarding school in Newtown, Pennsylvania. He received his BA in philosophy and mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania and his PhD in ethics and society from University of Chicago’s Divinity School. Palmer also studied accounting at Modesto (California) Junior College and spent time at Oberlin College’s Graduate School of Theology. He held a postdoctoral T. Wistar Brown Fellowship in Quaker studies at Haverford College.

As a non-registrant conscientious objector, Palmer was sentenced to a year in Federal prison, and a second time to three years probation, a conviction upheld by a 4-3 decision of a Federal Circuit Court.  He took part in the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. Palmer has long been a member of the Quaker Theological Discussion Group, where he has been the group’s treasurer and editor of Quaker Religious Thought.  

Palmer taught courses in philosophy and religion at Kentucky Wesleyan College and at Rio Grande College (Ohio), where he was chairman of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences.  He pastored at Gonic (New Hampshire) Friends Church, held staff positions at Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors and American Friends Service Committee, and retired from a position as accounting clerk at Chase Packaging Corp. in Portland, Oregon.

Vail Palmer is married to Izzy Covalt, co-founder of Izzy’s Pizza Restaurants. Between them they share eight children and thirty-some grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He and Izzy live in Albany, Oregon.