Palmer, Thomas Cruise

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Palmer, Thomas Cruise

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  • Palmer, Cruise

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Thomas Cruise Palmer was born on April 9, 1917, to Thomas Potter Palmer and Margaret McFadden Palmer. He graduated from Kansas State University in 1938, with a degree in journalism. While at Kansas State University, Palmer was a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity.

After college Palmer went to work full-time for Kansas City Star. The only break in his long career at The Star was when he served in the U. S. Navy during World War II. Ensign Palmer trained in Arizona and California. As a Lieutenant, he joined Admiral Thomas Kinkaid’s Seventh Fleet staff in Hollandia, New Guinea, as a communications watch officer. Accompanying General Douglas MacArthur in his thrust toward Japan, the Seventh Fleet moved its headquarters to Leyte, Manila, and Shanghai in the Pacific theater. As soon as the Japanese surrendered, Lieutenant Palmer was flown to San Francisco to help set up Navy News Bureau, Pacific.

After World War II, Palmer returned to work for the Kansas City Star. On September 7, 1946, he married Dorraine Humphreys Strole. (Her family name was Humphreys.)

In 1959, Palmer was on the first jet plane flight across Europe. Air France had just acquired its first sleek Caravelle Passenger aircraft and scheduled a press trip from Paris to Rome, Athens, and Istanbul. There were one-day stops in each city to demonstrate to future vacation travelers how they might take in some of the world’s top historic sights in less than a week.

Palmer took over the Kansas City Star News Room during the turbulent 1960s: a decade of revolts, riots, and tragic assassinations. He hired the first African-American writers at The Star. Later those reporters served with distinction in the riots that followed the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Because the two top officers on this nation’s first atomic carrier, the USS Enterprise, were from Kansas City and Ava, Missouri, the Secretary of the Navy asked him to go aboard for the maiden voyage to the Mediterranean in 1964. Eight fighter planes, circling high above, made consecutive night landings that were the highlight of the spectacular exercise that he described for Star readers.

Palmer became editor of the Kansas City Star in 1967 and served in that capacity until 1978. In February 1978, he established the Cruise Palmer Distinguished Professorship in Journalism at Kansas State. In the next two decades, Palmer and his wife of 55 years, Dorraine, continued to live in Johnson County and traveled extensively. He and Dorraine had two children, Thomas Cruise Palmer, Jr., born in 1947, and Martha Dorraine Palmer, born in 1949. Both attended Kansas State University.

He was an avid following of sports, including the Kansas State Wildcats teams, the Kansas City Royals, and the Kansas City Chiefs. He volunteered for the Red Cross, City Mission in Kansas City, Missouri, and other organizations.

An ardent amateur golfer, Palmer was a longtime member of Milburn Golf and Country Club, and he played in the Hawaiian Open Pro-Am 22 years and several other Pro-Am events.

In 2002, Palmer wrote a book titled The Kansas City Star Bosses of the News Room. Earlier in his career, he wrote the stylebook for the Kansas City Times and Star. He died on March 18, 2011.


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A journalist and editor for Kansas City Star newspaper.

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  • English


  • Latin


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  • EAC

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