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Robert A. Palmatier

by Deanne Puca

May 3, 2011 | WMU News

Retired Western Michigan University faculty member and author Robert A. Palmatier died April 29 in Portage, Mich. He was 84.

A professor emeritus of languages and linguistics, now foreign languages, Palmatier joined WMU as an English instructor in 1955 and retired in 1992, a tenure that included 19 years as chair of languages and linguistics since the department was formed in 1968.

He wrote and co-authored several books that defined metaphors and their use in everything from apple pie to roadkill to wrestling. Those works include "Sports Talk: A Dictionary of Sports Metaphors," co-authored with Harold Ray. He also wrote "Speaking of Animals: A Dictionary of Animal Metaphors" and "Food: A Dictionary of Literal and Nonliteral Terms."

A native of Kalamazoo, Palmatier served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from WMU and a doctoral degree from the University of Michigan.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, at the Langeland Family Funeral Homes in Portage. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service in the chapel. Internment will be in Mount Ever-Rest Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the First Presbyterian Church Health Clinic.