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Edward “Buzz” Palmer, husband of former Illinois Senator Alice Palmer, died April 11 at age 84 

Funeral arrangements are pending for Edward L. “Buzz” Palmer, 84, who died Sunday, April 11, while in hospice care at his home, his wife of 44 years, former Illinois Senator Alice Palmer, confirmed late Sunday night.

Mrs. Palmer, a former Illinois senator from 1991 to 1997 and human rights activist, said her husband, who was born on May 13, 1936 in Chicago and grew up in the Englewood community, had been in the hospice program at home since November.

Mr. Palmer was a long time international human rights activist and former Chicago policeman, who was one of the founders of the Afro-American Patrolmen’s League.

A former UIC professor, Mr. Palmer was also a senior fellow for the Institute for Government and Public Affairs, and he continued his work with the UIC’s Great City Institute.

During Mayor Harold Washington’s administration, Mr. Palmer was chairman of the Chicago Sister Cities Committee.

Mr. Palmer served as chairman of the Senate Advisory Committee on South Africa and was a confidante to Prime Minister Michael Manly of Jamaica; Glyn Ford, Member of the European Parliamentary (MEP) for the UK; and Harlem Jean-Philippe Desir, MEP for France. He was an advisor of policy makers on the issues concerning urban instability.

Mr. Palmer was a member of the International Board of United Townships in Paris; the president of the Black Press Institute; the director of the People’s Program and the founder and executive director of Comprand, Inc.

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., said Palmer “never missed a good fight for justice. He was on Harold Washington’s campaign, Barack’s campaign. He will be sorely missed.”

One of his closest friends, retired Northeastern Illinois University professor Robert Starks, said Palmer was a very good friend and mentor to him. “He was the impetus behind me and Henry English putting together the Black United Fund of Illinois.

“He and Alice were the impetus for me being the chairman of the Free South Africa Movement of Chicago. He worked with us on the Harold Washington campaign. He was quite an activist and a mentor. I am devastated by his death. He was quite a guy and known all over,” Starks said.

“I first met him when he was a security guard at Crain City College, since renamed Malcolm X College.”

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