Cover photo for Robert "Bob" J. Palma's Obituary
Robert "Bob" J. Palma Profile Photo
1946 Robert 2023

Robert "Bob" J. Palma

February 11, 1946 — February 16, 2023

Brownsburg, Indiana

The following is an obituary from Robert's loving family.

Robert J. “Bob” Palma, 77, Brownsburg, succumbed to pancreatic cancer on February 16, 2023. Bob was born in Chicago on February 11, 1946, to Lumir and Alice Palma and was raised downstate in Paris, IL.

The family moved to Indianapolis in 1962 when Bob was 16. He graduated from Arlington High School in 1964. He then graduated in 1969 with a degree in Industrial Arts Education from Purdue University. At Purdue, Bob was a member of The Purdue Reamer Club.

A greater benefit of Reamer Club membership was a fellow pledge brother introducing Bob to that brother’s fiancée’s roommate at Indiana University, Carolyn Kuster. “Cari” and Bob were married on July 31, 1976, and blessed with two wonderful children, Joe [Melissa] Palma of Wexford PA and Kate [Michael] Marciniec of Westfield IN. In turn, their children blessed Bob and Cari with four wonderful grandchildren, all the apples of Bob’s eye: Lucas Palma, Will Marciniec, Ellie Marciniec, and Joshua Marciniec.

Bob’s first job was teaching Auto Mechanics at Indianapolis’ Arsenal Technical High School, after which he pursued a career writing and editing Industrial Arts Education textbooks for Indianapolis’ Howard W. Sams Publishing Company and its affiliate, Bobbs-Merrill Educational Publishing.  He then turned his life-long automotive passion into his full-time job as an independent contractor-buyer for several dealerships.

Bob’s writing skill was put to good use writing for many automobile magazines when not buying cars. Those included a 40-year stint as Technical Editor for Turning Wheels, the international publication of The Studebaker Drivers Club. He was also a columnist for Hemmings Classic Car and had feature articles published in Collectible Automobile, Crankshaft, and Old Cars newspaper.

Bob’s writing and collector-car-hobby participation attracted the attention of persons in the Kentucky and Tennessee Governors Offices, whereupon he was appointed a Kentucky Colonel and Tennessee Squire by those Governors “for preserving our automobile heritage.”

At the 566-car 2022 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals Show in Rosemont IL, Bob was presented with the prestigious Living Legend Award for, “…your dedication and continued support of our hobby.” Before passing, Bob was able to briefly serve on the Board of Directors of Indiana Automotive, the affiliate group of Historic Landmarks of Indiana devoted to promoting and preserving Indiana’s automobile heritage.

Bob was a Life Member of The Antique Automobile Club of America, The Studebaker Drivers Club, The Purdue Alumni Association, and The National Rifle Association.

Bob’s Rite of Christian Funeral will be held at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Carmel at 10:30 AM on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, with one hour of calling prior to the service. Reverend Seth Bode will preside, with a private burial in Brownsburg Cemetery.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Eric M. D. Bell Funeral Home and Crematory in Pittsboro, whose attention to detail the family has greatly appreciated.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert "Bob" J. Palma, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, February 21, 2023

9:30 - 10:30 am (Eastern time)

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Rite of Christian Funeral

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Starts at 10:30 am (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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