David Packard

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David Packard, sometime after 1972. Photo: PA Historical Assoc.
David Packard, sometime after 1972. Photo: PA Historical Assoc.

David Packard (September 7, 1912 – March 26, 1996) was a cofounder of Hewlett-Packard. Born in Pueblo, Colorado, he received his B.A. from Stanford University in 1934. Afterwards he worked for the General Electric Company in Schenectady, New York.

In 1938, he returned from New York to Stanford, where he received a master's in electrical engineering the following year. In the same year, he married Lucile Salter with whom he had four children: David, Nancy, Susan, and Julie. Lucile died in 1987.

[edit] Hewlett-Packard

In 1939, he and William Hewlett established their firm in Packard's garage with an initial capital investment of $538. The company, where Packard proved to be an expert administrator and Hewlett provided many technical innovations, grew into the world's largest producer of electronic testing and measurement devices. It also became a major producer of calculators, computers, and laser and ink jet printers.

Packard served as Hewlett-Packard's president from 1947 to 1964, chief executive officer from 1964 to 1968, and chairman of the board from 1964 to 1968, and from 1972 to 1993. At the time of his death, Packard's stake in the company was worth more than $1 billion.

David Packard in Hewlett-Packard Page Mill shop, 1942. Photo: PA Historical Assoc.
David Packard in Hewlett-Packard Page Mill shop, 1942. Photo: PA Historical Assoc.

Upon entering office in 1969, President Richard M. Nixon appointed Packard U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense under Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird. Packard served until 1971, when he resigned and returned to Hewlett-Packard the next year as chairman of the board. In the 1970s and 1980s Packard was a prominent advisor to the White House on defense procurement and management.

Shortly before leaving the office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense in 1971, and shortly before the first components of the Watergate Investigation were publicized, Packard wrote the "Packard Memo" or "Employment of Military Resources in the Event of Civil Disturbances". This high-impact act essentially revoked a substantial part of the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act (which prevented use of the US military to act as a police force in a State of Emergency), providing for 'exceptions' to Posse Comitatus "to prevent loss of life or wanton destruction of property and to restore governmental functioning and public order when sudden and unexpected civil disturbances, disasters, or calamities seriously endanger life and property and disrupt normal governmental functions to such an extent that duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation" and "to protect Federal government functions when the need for protection exists". "Packard's directive (stated) that turning over law enforcement will 'normally' require a Presidential Executive Order, but that this requirement can be waived in 'cases of sudden and unexpected emergencies... which require that immediate military action be taken." (Lindorff, 1988) Packard's directive, in essence, reinstated the possibility of Martial Law in the United States, prohibited since 1878. "Martial law was defined in an integral Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) memo written in 1982... The memo, written by FEMA official John Brinkerhoff to agency director Louis Giuffrida, notes that martial law 'suspends all prior existing laws, functions, systems, and programs of civil government, replacing them... with a military system." (Lindorff, 1988).

From the early 1980s onward until his death, Packard dedicated much of his time and money to philanthropic projects. Prompted by their daughters Nancy and Julie, in 1978 Dave and Lucile Packard created the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation. The couple eventually donated $55 million to build the new aquarium, which opened in 1984 with Julie Packard as executive director. In 1987, Packard gave $13 million to create the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and the Packard Foundation has since provided about 90% of the institute's operating budget. For his philanthropic efforts, he was awarded the United States Military Academy's Sylvanus Thayer Award in 1982.

In 1964, the couple founded the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. In 1986, they donated $40 million towards building what became the Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University; the new hospital opened in June 1991.

Upon his death, his will gave approximately $4 billion to the Packard Foundation, including large amounts of valuable real property in Los Altos Hills]]. All three Packard daughters sit on the Foundation's board of trustees.

[edit] Honors

On December 6, 2006, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver inducted the Packard Family into the California Hall of Fame located at The California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts. First Lady Maria Shriver founded the California Hall of Fame to honor Californians who dared to dream, and have become role models by inspiring new generations to imagine, invent, influence and create.

[edit] Published references

Lindorff, David. "Could It Happen Here?". Mother Jones magazine, April 1988.

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