Joseph Palmer, 77; Temple Football Star

Posted: February 04, 1994

Joseph M. Palmer, 77, a Temple University football tackle in the late 1930s who played under the legendary Pop Warner, died Sunday at his Fort Lauderdale, Fla., vacation residence. Mr. Palmer lived in Cherry Hill and Margate.

A North Catholic High School graduate, Mr. Palmer played four years of varsity football in high school and was captain in his senior year. One of his teammates at North Catholic was the late Frank Reagan, who later played for the Eagles and coached at Villanova University.

At Temple, "he was a tackle weighing in at 270 pounds and played both ways - the only way you played in those days," said Moe Katz, a longtime friend and a Temple teammate. "He played 60 minutes just about every game. He was the heaviest man on the squad and was the fastest man for 40 yards on the team."

Mr. Palmer and Katz played freshman football in the 1935 season and varsity in 1936 through 1938.

"He was a very fierce player, a very strong defensive player and a superb blocker," Katz said. "But he was a very gentle, soft-spoken kind of a guy off the field."

In his senior year, Mr. Palmer injured his knee and missed several games, but returned for the final game against the University of Florida. "He would always say that his greatest claim to fame was that he was Pop Warner's last official act - because Warner relented and let him into the final game in the closing moments," said his wife, Ruth.

It was Warner's last game as Temple's coach. It was a win.

After graduating with a business degree, he entered the Marine Corps and served as a captain during World War II.

Mr. Palmer worked with the Internal Revenue Service for most of his career and retired in 1972 as the Philadelphia IRS office's director of administration.

He enjoyed fishing and golf, and was a member of the Atlantic City Country Club.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Palmer is survived by a daughter, Lois M. Palmer of Philadelphia; stepsons, Thomas M. Kain of Bryn Mawr, William S. Kain of Cherry Hill and Dennis J. Kain of Moorestown; 10 grandchildren, and a sister, Florence C. Palmer of Philadelphia.

A memorial service is being planned for April.

The family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Temple University Football Team Scholarship Fund, c/o Earl Cleghorn, Temple University Athletic Department, 1900 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19122.

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