Augustus L. Palmer, 85

Tuskegee Airman, Howard U. Official

Augustus L. Palmer was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
Augustus L. Palmer was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. (Family Photo - Family Photo)
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Friday, January 30, 2009

Augustus L. Palmer, 85, a former Tuskegee Airman who was a longtime administrator at Howard University, died Jan. 20 at Sibley Memorial Hospital's hospice. He had prostate cancer.

Mr. Palmer worked for Howard from 1971 to 1991, retiring as associate vice president for health affairs.

For the previous 15 years, he worked in the administration of Texas Southern University in Houston, a historically black university.

Augustus Lindsay Palmer was born in Newport News. He was a 1947 accounting and economics graduate of what is now Hampton University and worked there after graduation. In 1956, he received a master's degree in business administration from New York University.

He served as an Army Air Forces pilot during World War II and was in the corps of all-black military men known as the Tuskegee Airmen. In March 2007, he received a Congressional Gold Medal from President Bush for his Tuskegee service.

He was a former board member of the D.C. Legal Aid Society, which gave him its Servant of Justice award, and a former vestry member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Washington.

A son, Augustus L. Palmer Jr., died in 2008.

Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Mercedes Hardwick Palmer of Washington; four children, Rodney L. Palmer of Washington, Mercedes Renee Palmer of Columbia, Robert L. Palmer of Silver Spring and Ann Palmer Moss of Washington Township, N.J.; two sisters, Nannette Jackson of Harrisburg, Va., and Ada Henry of Washington; and 10 grandchildren.

-- Alexander F. Remington


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