J. Reginald “Reggie” Palmer, a football player and track athlete, was a record setter at Emory & Henry College. Palmer was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 1995 in honor of his accomplishments.
Palmer was an accomplished track & field athlete. He was a member of the state championship mile relay team that ranks fourth in the school record book in the 100-yard dash. His records still stand in the 220-yard dash (22.1 s), 440-yard dash (49.3 s), and 600-yard run (1:16). Palmer capped off his collegiate career when the track team went undefeated his senior year.
Palmer was a starting member of a strong defensive unit on the Emory & Henry football team. His sophomore year, the Wasps won the conference championship. At the end of his football career he held the record for most kickoff return yards (502), and as a freshman he led the team with 23 pass receptions.
In addition to his E&H Sports Hall of Fame recognition, Palmer was inducted as a charter member into his native Smyth County Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 for his athletic accomplishments, and the Chilhowie Lions Club named a scholarship in his honor.
Palmer taught and coached at Wythe High School and was a member of the local Ironworkers Union in Roanoke. Palmer moved to Kingman, Arizona with his wife to work for the Kingman Chamber of Commerce. In 1983, he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a degenerative disease of the central nervous system that over time results in paralysis. After his diagnosis, he helped to organize the Kingman MS Group.
Reggie Palmer died on June 9, 2000 at age 46 in Kingman, Arizona from complications due to Multiple Sclerosis.