Eldon D. Palmer
1928 - 2016
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Eldon D. Palmer

87, died on June 30, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana after a sudden illness. Born October 31, 1928 in Starke County, Indiana, he was the son of Francis W. & Vada Terry Palmer. He is survived by his loving wife of over 65 years, Elaine (Zaring), and children Patricia (John) Nichols, Don (Carolyn) Palmer, Barbara (William) Tait, and Marsha (Guy) East. He was so proud of 13 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren, and a wonderful extended family. His sister, Judith Moore survives, and brothers, Wayne, Wendell, and Otis Palmer, and sister Barbara Champlin preceded him in death.

Eldon attended a one room school house near Bass Lake, Knox High School, and Butler University. After graduating, he married Elaine in 1950. After one year of teaching school, he opened a used car lot. He and Elaine set down roots in Indianapolis. He founded Palmer Dodge in 1958, Kenworth Truck Center in 1965, and in 1975 purchased a bare bones Pebble Brook Golf Course in Noblesville. Today, Palmer Trucks employs nearly 500 people in various locations, and Pebble Brook is a beautiful 36-hole golf course. He loved the front lines of building businesses and sales, growing capable employees, developing strong relationships with customers and associates, and creating beautiful spaces for people to work and play.

Eldon Palmer had a keen eye for potential in people and in business. On both fronts, once his laser focus zeroed in on a project or a person in need, there was no turning back or stalling around. He was willing to move mountains to resolve a problem. Goals and strategies were essential, but nothing compared to his personal involvement and action. Success and age never stopped him from giving his family, friends, and projects his direct attention and effort. Eldon cherished friends of all ages from all walks of life: believing in each person's goodness and potential, pushing for excellence, never giving up over time and adversity.

Mr. Palmer made a dedicated example of humble stewardship through many valuable organizations, but wanted to focus on the gift not the giver. Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, and Faith Presbyterian in Cape Coral, Florida provided warm church homes. He loved his Butler University roots and was a dedicated Bulldog fan decades before it was "cool." Along with many others over the years, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Motor Cycle Drill Team and the neighborhood mission Community Caring and Sharing made him proud and warmed his heart.

The community will likely remember his business success or the Indy 500 pace car accident. His family and friends will remember his timeless zest for life, his kind and generous heart, and how truly and dearly he loved us. "We were lucky…"

Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Vincent Foundation 8402 Harcourt Road Indianapolis, IN 46260 or Butler University Athletics In Memory of Eldon Palmer 510 W. 49th Street Indianapolis, IN 46208 (www.butler.edu.gifts)

Family and friends are invited to gather Tuesday, July 5 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church. A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, July 6 at 11:00 a.m. at Second Presbyterian Church. Please visit flannerbuchanan.com to sign the online guest register. Arrangements entrusted to Flanner and Buchanan-Carmel.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Indianapolis Star on Jul. 5, 2016.
04:00 - 07:00 PM
Second Presbyterian Church
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Second Presbyterian Church
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Memories & Condolences
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46 entries
June 29, 2020
Miss you oh so much Buddy I think of all the laughter and fun we had daily Rest in peace my special friend
Homer Jack
June 30, 2019
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always. We sure had some good times and I miss you little Buddy
Sonny Jack
May 25, 2017
the 1971 Indi 500 pace car driver...RIP...
scott smaistrla
March 26, 2017
I love Mr Palmer I cant believe he's gone..My best memories is him and his lovely wife coming over to Mr Robert"Bob"Mcfarlings house driving up in his black Chrysler 300..coming in always giving me a hug..I was Bobs care giver but was always treated like family..I'm really sad he's gone the world is a little darker without him in it..
September 13, 2016
I am truly saddened to learn of Eldon's passing. Eldon and Elaine are wonderful people and they were always generous hosts whenever I had the pleasure to visit them in Indianapolis. Often dragging friends along to attend the Indy 500 or to play golf as Eldon's guest at Pebble Brook. Once, Eldon gave my buddy and me one of the new Dodge Viper's to drive and, on a very special occasion, he even dragged his Indy Pace Car from the garage and fired it up (all while damned near catching himself on fire when pouring gas down the carburetor when firing it up). Then, he had my buddy drive it to the pre-Indy Driver's meeting while he and I played golf. And, Elaine always made a great breakfast for us and, whenever we rolled in late at night. There were candies placed on our pillows. Lastly, playing golf at Augusta (yeah, where they play the Master's) with Eldon and Chuck Pigott was a true highlight in my life. Second only to knowing Eldon and Elaine.
Ed Wallace
July 27, 2016
Stephon W. Jones -Willie and Cora Forte's son
Mr. Palmer is an automotive and business legend. He has greatly influenced not only my life but countless others. I began my career at Palmer Dodge on 38th and Keystone as a Porter washing cars in 1978. Along with his loving wife and the rest of Palmer family, they provided the most memerable work experiences that spread unselfishly to the thousands of customers over the years. The camaraderie among the employees was unbelievable and the memories unforgettable. I was fortunate to spend some time with Mr. Palmer at his home in Fort Meyers recently. I just needed him to know how much he meant to all of us and to say Thank you. To Eleanor, Don and the rest of the family, you have my deepest sympathy and in the Palmer tradition if you need anything, please do not hesitate to call.
Stephon Jones
July 8, 2016
I worked for Eldon and I loved the guy. I didn't know he passed till today. I'm sorry and he will be missed greatly. Best wished to family and friends. Go Paclease!!
Rick Tichenor
July 6, 2016
I knew Mr. Palmer, mostly from my dad. Palmer dodge was near my dad's restaurant, The Log Cabin. Our cars always came from Palmer Dodge. May your memories be a comfort to you.
Marleen Silver Signer
July 6, 2016
Eldon mentored me as he did so many others. I learned the auto business, about people and about myself through Eldon. He truly cared, a rare man indeed. I will carry his influence with me the rest of my life.
God Bless
Larry Gray
Larry Gray
July 6, 2016
Eldon PalmerRIPa good manfather to my first and best friend in Indianapoliswho drove us
everywhereto wrestling meets all over the city
to highschoolto all our fields of playand was
always there for usgave us a loving break when
we screwed upgave us a quiet lesson in doing the
right thingwas stern and clear with us all the way..
but also made us laugh and laughed with usyou
always knew Eldon Palmer would take care of you
and he didnot out of dutybut love and care
this man had a heart and a soulthose of us who
crossed paths with him were luckyand we are better human beings because of him
Tom Willey
July 6, 2016
To the Palmer family Wanda & Butch Morrisett would like to we are sorry for the lost of a great man. We enjoyed working for Mr. Palmer at Pebble Brook Golf course.He will be a man that will be missed very dearly God Bless the family.
July 6, 2016
Eldon was one of the most gentle and generous individuals we have known. Our condolences to Elaine and family.

Ken and Mary Pennington
July 5, 2016
Eldon was a great inspiration to us all, whether in business, or in family life. He graced our family many years ago personally after the 1971 Indy 500, and became a true dedicated friend of our family. After graduating from school, I had the privilege to work for him at his Palmer Dodge 38 th Street, where he further became an inspiration in my life. His teachings will be forever remembered by us all. Thank you Eldon for your kindness and will forever be in our hearts.
Carl (David) Genaro
July 5, 2016
Eldon Palmer was one the greatest men that has ever graced the City of Indianapolis and the State of Indiana...a Leader, a friend and inspiration to all who knew him ...I have many wonderful memories of Mr. Palmer and will treasure the opportunity to have known him....may GOD BLESS him and comfort those left behind...
David Maloney
July 5, 2016
I hope all will remember this impressive act to IMS and the city....

For 1971, no manufacturer provided a pace car for the race. It came down to local dealers to provide the cars and the honor was given to Eldon Palmer, the owner of Palmer Dodge in Indianapolis. By winning the right to supply the cars he was also allowed to drive the car on the pace lap of the race. Muscle cars were never known as good stoppers, and this video is proof as to why.
The day before the race, Palmer was allowed to make practice runs in the 383 powered 1971 Challenger convertible.
Marc Wood
July 5, 2016
Eldon Palmer was a great man. He was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather.
Eldon was a great and honest businessman.
Smart, witty, a gentleman and even with all of his success Eldon still had fire in his belly. He will surely be missed.
During this time may our God Jesus The Christ be with his love ones.
Sincerely, Danny Hockett
Danny Hockett
July 5, 2016
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
Don Schafer Sr
July 5, 2016
July 5, 2016
July 5, 2016
Patty and family,
I am so sorry to hear of your Dad's passing. I know what a great angel God has welcomed into heaven. Eldon will be remembered and missed by many.
I so wish I could visit in person with you all and express my sympathy. I will look forward to lunch with you Patty sometime this summer,, as I am out of the country now.
Prayers and hugs to you all!!
Sally Beyers Reynolds
July 4, 2016
July 4, 2016
Eldon and Elaine are two of best persons one could ever know. I provided tax service for the Palmers businesses and personal matters while a young professional at Ernst & Ernst ( now EY) during the 1970's and early 1980's. An astute businessman who always had Elaine helping with the books. A real class person in all respects and a great "teacher". My thoughts for the whole family, particularly Elaine and son Don. I'll always remember his air ballon ride for Elaine's birthday.
Bill Ellis
July 4, 2016
To the entire Palmer Family immediate and extended, our thoughts and prayers are with you through these difficult days.

Eldon was such a good man to know.

Love to you all,

Sandy (Hendricks) Eisenhut and Dylan
Betty A. Hendricks
July 4, 2016
Bob & Alice Benjamin
July 4, 2016
Clyde & Tina Riley, our hearts go out to the Palmer family. We will all miss Eldon.
Clyde Riley
July 4, 2016
I have so many wonderful childhood memories that involve Mr. Palmer. From the company picnics to the Christmas baskets, I will always cherish these good times. Eldon was like a father to my Dad, and I know that my Dad is truly going to miss his talks and his time spent with Eldon. Elaine, thank you for sharing him with us. Mr. Palmer, may you forever rest in peace. We are so much better for having known you.
Sarah Clifford Agresta
July 4, 2016
As a twenty plus year employee of Mr Palmer I would have followed him to the end of the earth. He truly cared about your well being above and beyond the work place. Firm Straight Forward Answers you did not like sometimes ,but always a humble man...One of the few..God be with you on your
Roy Major
July 4, 2016
My son John Burris loved Mr. Palmer. He was a great role model. Steve Burris (Butler U 1959 and Kappa Sigma brother.).
July 4, 2016
My sympathy to Mrs. Palmer and family. Eldons wonderful reputation was widely known and respected.
Dan Nichols
July 4, 2016
Mr. Palmer, as I knew him while growing up next door, was a great man in every respect, the ultimate family man, and the best neighbor we could have had. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.
Steve Clayton
July 3, 2016
My deepest sympathy to the Palmer family. May the angels of heaven escort Mr. Palmer to a place of peace and happiness. God Bless you.

While I only met Mr. Palmer once or twice, he always struck me as a very kind and gentle man. May he rest in peace.
Michael Le Cuyer
July 3, 2016
I have fond memories of my friendship with Eldon. He was a kind and gentle human being. It was always good and positive being around him. I will pray for him in Heaven and for his wonderful family that God give them strength and His blessings throughout this time.

John Capella, Noblesville
John Capella
July 3, 2016
Thank you Eldon for all the wonderful memories
Duane & Julie Zaring
July 3, 2016
Don, Carolyn and family. I am so sorry for your sadness at this time. May God keep you strong and encouraged. Fondly, Jon and Glenda Pilcher
Glenda Pilcher
July 3, 2016
Glenda Pilcher
July 3, 2016
As I'm writing this I'm looking at a photo of Eldon an my self remembering all the good times an Laughter that My wife Dottie and I had with Eldon and Elaine. We will Cherish all our memories an be so thankful for the time we spent together. Love you an will miss you so much Buddy.
Sonny Jack
July 3, 2016
While growing up next door, I will never forget Mr Palmer's gentle smile and quiet kindness. I am better for having known him as well as the entire Palmer family, all of whom I dearly love. May God's arms surround the family with love, and the comfort that Mr Palmer is at peace, at Home.Sending much love to Mrs Palmer, Patty and Don, with special hugs to my lifelong friends, Barb and Marsha.
Kelly Clayton-Cheslyn
July 3, 2016
God bless the Palmer family
Brian and Kim Buchanan
July 3, 2016
Eldon Palmer will be greatly missed my mother-in-law used to babysit his kids when they were little and the property at 38th and Keystone when he opened up his business, purchase the property off of my mother Inlaw mother, and they relocated her home to a different location. My husband Curt remembers watching the house being moved.. The family purchased cars off of Elfon for years.....
Rosemary, Curt & Kathryn Percifield
July 2, 2016
I am so sorry to hear this. Ms. Elaine, I loved Mr Eldon and have such great respect for him. He was a wonderful man, so generous and kind. He will be missed by so many lives he touched. You and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers in the many days ahead. Love you, Donna Loyd
Donna Loyd
July 2, 2016
Our deepest sympathy to your family. We love you Jake. The Carletons
July 2, 2016
Gentleman , friend , mentor, will be missed
Bill Padgett
July 2, 2016
Dear Aunt Elaine and Family,
We were "Lucky"! Who knew that a skit would have, and hold such a treasured story of TRUTH! I know Uncle Eldon wants us to brave forward, and live courageously as he did.
I will forever cherish my memories and be grateful for the time I had with him. We are richly blessed.
Julie S. Moore
July 2, 2016
I'm so sorry for your loss. Prayers for all the family.
Chris White
July 2, 2016
Aunt Barbara, Uncle Eldon , and my Mother, Judy Moore
Julie S. Moore
July 2, 2016
Eldon was a great mentor and leader!! He made the world was a better place with his leadership, faith in people, and visionary leadership!! He will be missed and remembered!!

Kevin Tackett
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