Richard M. Palmer Sr., the founder of novelty chocolate manufacturer R.M. Palmer Co., died April 14, 2009 at the age of 89. He came up with the idea for chocolate character novelty manufacturing in 1948. In just 34 years, his company became a nationally recognized and international sales competitor in the confectionery industry.

Palmer was born in Reading, Pa. on Jan. 5, 1920. He graduated from the College of Business Administration of Lehigh University, Bethlehem, in 1942 and served as a captain in the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII. After marrying the former Vivian Golden in 1942, Palmer and his wife had three children – Richard M. Jr., Thomas C. and Mary Marshall Palmer. Palmer also had six grandchildren and two great-grandsons.

In addition to holding positions on R.M. Palmer’s board of directors, the Berks County Trust Co., which later became Meridian Bank, Reading Hospital’s board of directors, the board of the Manufacturers Association of Berks County and the Reading Area Businessman Committee of the Foundation for Independent Colleges in Pennsylvania, Palmer enjoyed golfing, hunting, fishing and spending time with his friends and family.