David Scott Palmer

July 16, 1937 ~ April 28, 2018 (age 80)


PALMER, David Scott, 80, died of complications from cancer on April 28, 2018 at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington, MA. Known as “Scott”, he was a resident of Belmont.


Born on July 16, 1937 Scott was the son of the late Walter S. and Jean Palmer. He attended Melrose High and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1959 where he was a member of Dartmouth’s first Ivy League Championship football team in 1958 and captain of the heavyweight rowing team. He was awarded a Marshall fellowship that he used to study in Chile, beginning a lifelong involvement with Latin America.


A member of the first class of Peace Corps volunteers in Peru in 1963, Scott taught English at the University of Huamanga in the highland city of Ayacucho. He received his Master’s degree from Stanford University and his PhD. in Political Science from Cornell in 1972. After graduate school, he taught at Bowdoin College before moving to Arlington, VA in 1976 to work for the U.S. Department of State at the Foreign Service Institute as Chair of Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Associate Dean for Programs of the School of Area Studies. In 1988, he became a professor at Boston University where he served as Chairman of the Political Science Department, Associate Chairman of the Department of International Relations, Director of Latin American Studies, and Co-Director, with his wife, Diane, of Peru Summer programs.


Never really retiring, Scott stayed extremely active, climbing Mt. Moosilauke in New Hampshire on his 80th birthday and teaching his final semester at Boston University last fall. Throughout his life, Scott had a deep love and interest in Peru, his students, and his extended family.


He is survived by his wife Diane (Nagel) Palmer, his sister, Kirk (Palmer) Senske, seven children and 14 grandchildren. His first wife, Sarah (Crawford) Palmer died of cancer in 1985.


A celebration of Scott’s life is planned for July at Old South Church in Boston where he was an active member.

A memorial service for David Scott Palmer will be held July 14, 2018 at 11:00 am at Old South Church, 645 Boylston St. Boston. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Old South Church-  or to the Chijnaya Foundation- . (The foundation works with communities in the highlands of Peru to alleviate poverty through various community-led projects. Scott was on its Board of Directors.)


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of David Scott Palmer, please visit our floral store.


Funeral Service
July 14, 2018

11:00 AM
Old South Church
645 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116

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