Palmer Bayer

by Tom Bradley

Born in Oak Park, Illinois, Palmer Bayer was educated at local schools, Chicago University and Columbia (NY) University. The 1939 war, marriage to Peggy, and fatherhood (he leaves two sons and two daughters) put paid to his ambition to graduate in English.

He took a job in the accounts and costing department of a company pioneering in the use of containers for road transport. A highly successful career led to the presidency of a large company providing trailers.

When the company sold out in 1972, the Bayer's moved to Pertersfield, Hampshire. Another successful business career started, concluding with retirement in 1983.

Palmer took up the game as a teenager, remaining an occasional social player until he joined the Petersfield club; He became Treasurer, then his wide-ranging contributions to the administration of the game. He was a delegate to the EBU Council for Southern Counties, became Chairman of Isle of Wight Association and its delegate to the Council 1988. After moving home, he joined the London CCBA committee and became their delegate.

In 1987, he was elected a Director of the English Bridge Union Ltd, holding the portfolios of Membership Promotion, Trading and EBUTA (now EBTA) successively. In 1988, he joined the BBL Council serving on its Youth Committee and Tournament Committee. A founder member of Better Bridge, in Britain, Palmer was its first Treasurer and Newsletter editor. No fear events were very much hid brainchild. In 1988, he joined the LCCBA and became a member of its Management and Tournament committees. He had a consultant role, making his business and personnel skills available for the restructuring of the Association.

An astute bridge politician, Palmer enjoyed a little wheeling and dealing. An active lobbyist at election time, he commanded support and votes in many parts of the country. Palmer's influence was used to champion the cause of those in danger of neglect from the establishment. He campaigned tirelessly for the young, the student the inexperienced and the small businessman.

Palmer had a particular interest in developing the game among the young. He strongly supported the work of the Educational Trust. A very successful project was the British Junior Camp, which he initiated with Anna Gudge; The BBL recognized this involvement when the Under 20s Home International was renamed the Peggy Bayer event.

Palmer and Peggy kept open house in London, their home being always available for meetings and visitors to the capital. They particularly enjoyed young company, hosting the Irish junior team recently.

On the day of his death, Palmer retired from the Board of the EBU Council, and in recognition of his service to the Union, he was elected as a Vice President. Palmer, knowing of this decision, was immensely proud to be the first American citizen to hold the office.

Palmer died in London on October 7th from a massive heart attack. To Peggy, we offer our sympathy and our thanks for her unwavering support of Palmer's work for the game.