Palmer began his career parking cars and cleaning stalls at Bay Area racetracks. He moved up through the ranks on the Northern California fair circuit to assistant operations manager, stable superintendent, patrol judge and racing secretary.
"Charlie helped a lot of racing officials get started and was just a great guy to work for," said California horse racing steward Grant Baker, who worked for Palmer many years on the summer fair circuit. "He always put the people that worked for him first."
Palmer is survived by his wife, Patricia, and sons Brian, Gregg, and Kevin. The family is planning a private graveside service.