Dr. Reid Palmer, Ph.D.
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Dr. Reid Griffith Palmer, Ph.D., 73, passed away Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, after fighting a courageous battle with cancer and an incurable infection. 'Reid', as his wife, friends, colleagues and students affectionately called him, was born June 21, 1941 to Jasper and Fern (Ernsthausen) Palmer in Pemberville, Ohio. He has one living sister Dedra (Palmer) Strohl and brother-in-law Ed of Fostoria, Ohio. Reid married his loving wife Nuray (Sahin) of almost 14 years in Ankara, Turkey where he met her on one of his many professional trips.
Reid received his B.S.A. at the University of Toronto, Canada (Ontario Agriculture College) in 1963, an M.S. from the University of Illinois in 1965, and a Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1970. He became a USDA Research Geneticist at Iowa State University, Ames in 1970 and a USDA-ARS-CICGR Collaborator and Assistant Professor associated with the Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University in 1973, and rose through the academic ranks to professor. His official title before retirement was USDA Research Geneticist and Professor of Agronomy and Genetics, Development and Cell Biology. He officially retired from ARS-USDA in 2012 but remained professionally active as an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Agronomy until his death. Reid's areas of expertise were cytogenetics and plant breeding of soybeans. His research involved two primary objectives: the identification, characterization, and utilization of fertility/sterility mutants in a phenotypic recurrent selection system with insect-mediated cross-pollination to increase hybrid seed production; and the identification and characterization of mutable loci with emphasis on genetic studies of germinal revertants. He developed collaborations with many fellow researchers within Iowa State University, the United States and abroad because of his excellent reputation in these areas. These involvements provided Reid with innumerable opportunities to travel worldwide to carry out his research and present his findings (277 abstracts, 18 Symposia and Proceedings and 149 technical Newsletter Articles) at universities and private companies, as well as state, national and international conferences. His studies were published in over 200 research articles and invited book chapters. His research was supported by numerous private, state, and federal grants. He served as associate editor or on the editorial board of 11 scientific journals in his field and reviewed countless manuscripts for 51 scientific journals and other media. One of Reid's major strengths and loves was mentoring of many undergraduate and 44 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists, and he served on numerous graduate committees at ISU and eight other domestic and foreign universities. He was dedicated to training and mentoring them, many of whom have become leaders in the same or allied fields in academia, private industry and government. He enjoyed the laboratory part of his research but he really loved being outside in his soybean fields planting, making delicate crosses and harvesting the results of his and his students' labors. His experimental plots spread well beyond Iowa.
Reid received prestigious recognitions for his professional activities over the years including being a member of 11 professional and honorary societies and a recipient of: the Raymond and Mary Baker Agronomy Excellence Award, Department of Agronomy, ISU; Soybean Researchers Recognition Award, American Soybean Association\Imperial Chemicals Industries (Americas) Award; Fellow of both the American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America; Fellow, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; Distinguished Fellow, Iowa Academy of Science; and National Council of Commercial Plant Breeding Genetics and Plant Breeding Award. He was to be given an honorary degree from Nanjing Agricultural in China this fall.
Before and after Reid married Nuray, he loved to travel and was physically active in hiking and mountain and ice climbing in different parts of the world. One of his claims was that he had never been sick and always watched what he ate and drank. He walked daily to work, regardless of weather. He shared this spirit of good living with his wife Nuray as together they enjoyed traveling both within and outside of the United States. They also shared a love for antique shows, where his earlier interests produced fine collections of Inuit art, and Mary Gregory and barber bottles, as well as other unusual pieces to their liking. Reid and Nuray enjoyed sharing them with friends who visited them.
There is no doubt Reid touched many individuals during his lifetime. However, what he gave to them in friendship, training and love will be felt for generations to come. You will be missed, Reid.
A 'Celebration of Life' Reception for Reid will be held at Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University, Garden Room on Wednesday, September 3, from 5-7 pm. In lieu of flowers, memorials for Reid G. Palmer may be directed to the General Agronomy Fund at Iowa State University (2505 University Boulevard, P.O. Box 2230, Ames, Iowa 50010-2230). Condolences and photos may be shared at www.adamssoderstrum.com
Adams Funeral Home
502 Douglas Avenue Ames, IA 50010
Published in Des Moines Register on Aug. 24, 2014