Max Palmer

In Ohio during the early 70's, I invited the "Tallest Living American Native" to speak at a Sunday morning youth rally. His name was Max Palmer. Max stood seven feet, eight inches tall, weighed 400 pounds or so, and wore a size 22 shoe. I remember that my brain was not prepared for the giant of a man I saw the first time I met him.

Earlier in his life, Max had wrestled professionally as Paul Bunyon and appeared in several movies including "Invaders from Mars" and "Killer Ape" with Johnny Weismueller. He also appeared on such shows as "The Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis Comedy Hour" and "The Jimmy Durante Show." In the early 60's, Max became an evangelist and preached all over the United States.

I also invited Max to speak in 1974 when I moved to Arkansas. That was the last time I saw him. A year or so later I called friends to report that Max had died. We were all saddened by his death. I continued to tell friends about Max’s death for several years. I missed him.

Then one day a friend called to ask, "Didn’t you tell me that Max Palmer died?"

"Yes, I did. Back several years ago."

"Well, I am looking at a newspaper article here that says he recently married a little lady four feet, eleven inches tall, and they are living happily in the state of Missouri."

"Can’t be!" I said matter-of-factly, "He’s dead."

"He looks alive in this picture with his wife," the caller said.

As it turned out, Max was indeed alive and well in Arnold, Missouri with his new wife. My friend sent me the news article and picture and I still have it in my files.

I have no clue why I thought Max died. But I do know that its an unforgettable experience to grieve the passing of a friend, then for him to come back to life again.

Max did eventually die in 1984. And I grieved my loss again.