William L. Palmer | RecordCourier.com

William L. Palmer

William L. Palmer was born in Denver, Colo. to Wiliam E. and Viola M. Palmer on Feb. 10, 1932. He is survived by his wife, E. Lorrene and daughter Sally Jo Ann Lopeman of Minden. He was grandfather to two grandchildren; Brian Lopeman and Kelly Smith.

Growing up largely in Tujunga, Calif., he graduated in January 1950 from Verdugo Hills High School. He remained in Tujunga, with his widowed mother as he attended Glendale Community College. At the beginning of 1952, he left the area to serve on active duty in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He spent 42 weeks of his first year, attending Boot Camp and Treasure Island’s Navel electronics school. Upon graduation from the latter, he served as an Electronics Technician at the Ship Repair Facility in Yokosuka, Japan.

Upon his release in December of 1953, William went on to attend the University of California in Berkeley, earning a BA degree i William L. Palmer n June 1957.

He first worked for Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank, CA until United Airlines cancelled their contract for the propeller-driven Electras in favor of the new all-jet powered Boeing 707. He did go to witness the Electra’s first flight before returning to the Bay Area where he eventually ended up at Lockheed Missles and Space Company in Sunnyvale, CA. He sent the next 4 years as a quality assurance engineer. He was, by then, also a commissioned officer in the Naval Reserve. He was once again activated, in October of 1961- this time to serve another year as conning officer on the USS Laws, a Fletcher class destroyer. During this second period of active service he kept a detailed journal of his shipboard activities and later typed and printed copies that detailed his military service. Prior to his release, he’d risen to the rank of Lieutenant.

He returned to LMSC and his next several years were spent as a Space Systems Manufacturing Research Engineer.

In November of ‘63, he married elementary school teacher Elnora Lorrene Clupper, in Palo Alto, CA. He adopted her daughter Sally and then they moved to live in the foothills of Cupertino,CA.

It was during this period that he and his Manufacturing Research lab partner jointly received a U.S. Patent for Interconnection of Flexible Electrical Circuits. In 1968, he became the first recipient of Lockheed’s Sunnyvale’s award as “Craftsman of the Year.”

He was an avid skier and Sierra backpacker and together with his wife, daughter, and dog, once climbed to the top of Mt. Whitney. He and his wife also traveled extensively to Europe. Later, they enjoyed a multi-stop Mediterranean cruise.

He transferred from Lockheed’s Space Systems Manufacturing Research to the Electrical Power Systems design group. There, he began designing solar power systems for various satellite programs, including preliminary designs in connection with development of the flexible Solar Array Power System used on the International Space System. These activities included trips to Florida’s Cape Canaveral to participate in installing particular payloads into Shuttle Bays just prior to launch.

Beginning in 1975, as a hobby, he became a credentialed teacher of evening history classes in California Gold Mining and Western History of De Anza Community College, in Cupertino, CA. He went on to teach these classes for 17 years, and with each was a weekend field trip that he led, to particular areas of historical interest- for example, the historic ghost town of Bodie, in eastern California.

In late 1992, after 35 years at LMSC, he retired, and with his wife Lorrene, re-located to Gardnerville, to be near their married daughter and grandkids, as they were growing up. Soon after moving into their new East Valley home, both he and his wife joined and became active in the Carson Valley Methodist Church. He was also active as a regular member of Carson Valley’s Historical Society and Kiwanis.

Services will be held at Carson Valley Methodist Church with a gravesite service following at Eastside Memorial Park.


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