News From 1950

May 31, 1950

Francis Eber Palmer
F. E. PALMER, 86

Former Superintendent of
Iowa School for the Blind

A funeral service will be held at the Iowa School for the Blind chapel here Saturday, June 3, at 10:30 a. m. for Dr. Francis Eber Palmer, 86, former superintendent of Iowa School for the Blind here for many years and at one time president of the American Association of Instructors of the Blind, who died early Tuesday morning at Batavia, N.Y.

Dr. Palmer, one of the few Vinton men to be listed in Who’s Who, left here in 1939 to go to Batavia where his son, Eber, is superintendent of the New York School for the Blind.

He had been ill 14 months. A funeral will be held at Batavia before the body is returned to Vinton. Burial will be in Evergreen Cemetery.

Active Citizen

While residenced in Vinton, Palmer was active in many civic affairs. He was president of the Lions club at one time and of the old Vinton Chatauqua association.

During his residence in Batavia Palmer was city assessor from 1944 to 1949. Until his illness he was considered a leader in state education circles in New York.

Palmer did much to liberalize curricula in schools for the blind during his years in Vinton. He was a leader in the belief that education consists not only of academic training, but also of personality development social adaptability and vocational ability.

He engaged in church work throughout his life and was a member of the Vinton Methodist church. For more than 60 years he taught Sunday school.

He was born at Bowens Prairie, Ia. on September 24, 1863, a sun of Stephen Alfred and Angeline (Bennett). He received his A, B. degree from Grinnell college in 1888 and was awarded an honorary degree after becoming nationally known for his work among the blind in 1938.

On July 5, 1893, he was married to May Lenon. Besides her, he is survived by his son Eber and one grandchild. A daughter, Lorna, died in 1918. She was a piano teacher at the School for the Blind here. Eber was formerly superintendent of schools in Radcliffe and Vinton.

Palmer was superintendent of many schools in Iowa before becoming head of the state school here. From 1881 to 1891 he headed the schools at Spirit Lake; 1891-94, Guthrie Center; 1894-99, Greenfield; 1899-1903, Villisca; 1903-08, Jefferson; 1908-1914, Le Mars; 1914-18, Mason City.


He become superintendent of the school for the blind here in 1918 and left Vinton in 1939. For 51 years he served the public schools of Iowa.

Palmer was president of the Southwest Iowa Teachers association, the Northwest Iowa Teachers association, first vice president of the state association and later a first vice president of the American Association of Workers For the Blind.

The funeral is to be held in Batavia Thursday at 2 p. m.

Friends may call at the Fry-Holland funeral home Friday evening. Saturday morning at 8:30, the body will be taken to the chapel at the school for the blind.