For 32 years, Tim Palmer served with Christian Reformed World Missions (now Resonate Global Mission) and devoted his life to the people of Nigeria as a seminary professor and scholar. He was held in deep affection and admiration by his students and colleagues. One colleague described him as “an astute researcher, a courageous preacher, a humble and able administrator.” Palmer died Aug. 20 at age 68.
Born in Amsterdam, Palmer graduated from Calvin College in 1973 and got his first taste of mission work that year with a Summer Training Session in Missions to Mexico. After graduation from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1976, he continued studying at the Free University of Amsterdam from 1976 to 1984, finishing his Ph.D. at the University of Aberdeen in 1988. He was ordained that same year.
Meanwhile, in 1985, Palmer had started his life’s work as a missionary and professor of theology at the Theological College of Northern Nigeria. In Nigeria, he met his wife, Wilma. Over the years, Palmer taught about 3,000 future pastors and church leaders, influencing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Africans. A lasting legacy will be his six books on theology and research written with an eye to making Reformed thinking accessible to modern African students. He also served in various administrative roles at the Theological College and co-founded Africa Christian Textbooks, a Christian book distributor and publisher serving the church throughout Africa.
Palmer delighted in birds, bridge, chess, biking, history, mountains, Africa, books, politics, walks, Europe, tennis, family, and theology.
The Palmers moved to Lincoln, Neb., at the end of 2016. Even after receiving an advanced cancer diagnosis, he took daily hour-long walks around Holmes Lake, sometimes twice a day, and he taught two studies in his local church.
He is survived by Wilma; two children and their spouses; and six grandchildren.