Participating, attending, and enjoying sorts has long been a Palmer family tradition. Whether it’s Jim’s grandfather, Walter Wait, who won the Marion County basketball championship in 1931, or his uncle Dave Wait, a 1994 Hall of Fame Inductee, or his father, Bob Palmer, who played on Loudonville’s first undefeated football team in 1949, or his brother, Mike, who played on Loudonville’s third undefeated football team in 1976, sports has always been a family passion.
Keeping with his family’s tradition, sports became Jim’s life. He began playing organized sports at the age of six. While at Loudonville High School, he earned three letters in basketball and was team captain in his senior year. In addition, he earned three letters in track and football and was on the first two football teams that made it to the state playoffs. As a senior, he was voted all-Ohio first team tight end and third team defensive end and honorable mention punter. The Mansfield News Journal named him offensive lineman of the year in 1984 and the Ashland Times-Gazette honored him with the first team all-area offensive and defensive end award. Jim was awarded first team laurels by the Wooster’s Daily Record.
Along with his many honors and awards, Jim broke the single season extra point record by kicking 38 extra points; a record that was previously held by his brother Mike. Other accomplishments on the high school gridiron include 44 assisted tackles, 30 solo tackles, 13 sacks, and three fumble recoveries. On offense, he caught 10 passes for 151 yards and averaged 40.9 yards as a punter. Jim was recognized by Street and Smith magazine as one of the top 30 college prospects in the county. His dedication and determination paid off. He was recruited by many major colleges throughout the country for a full athletic scholarship, but his heart remained in Ohio.
In 1985, Jim decided to play football for the Ohio State University. While attending Ohio, Jim earned two varsity award letters, was voted offensive lineman of the week five times, and won the Coach’s Appreciation Award. He also was listed in the Ohio State University 100th Yearbook. As a senior, he caught 27 passes and tied Jeff Graham for the team lead in receptions and caught three touchdown passes.
After graduation in 1991, Jim remained active in football by volunteering as the assistant coach at Columbus West High School. A job transfer took him to Indiana where he again volunteered his time as the assistant football coach for Crown Point High School. In 1995, Jim was promoted to Terminal Operations Manager for Roadway Express in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Looking to further his career, he left Roadway to become the Terminal Manager for Schwerman Trucking. After gaining valuable experience there, Jim recently opened a new division of FedEx called FedEX Home Delivery, servicing the Metro Milwaukee Area.
In Milwaukee he met his wife, Aimee, and they have been married for three years and have a daughter, Paige (22 months), and a son, Griffin (10 months). They live in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, a small town similar to the town he grew up in and he hopes one day to continue the family tradition of sports with his children.
Nominator: Robert C. Palmer