George William Warren Packard passed away peacefully on October 26, 2017, in Boston. George fought bravely over a period of 21 years against illnesses deriving from a brain tumor initially diagnosed in 1996. During that time he was a source of great inspiration to many, including his beloved children Daniel and Anne.
George was born in New York City, the son of Peter F. Packard and Jarmila Daubek Packard. George had many accomplished and colorful family members, perhaps most notably his grandmother Jarmila Novotna, a Czech diva who sang in Prague, Berlin and Vienna in the 1930s before performing more than 200 times at the Metropolitan Opera in New York (1940-1956). George’s own creative talents were first recognized in kindergarten with a “Best Dancer” award and later as a gifted singer in choirs, choruses and a cappella groups. George grew up three blocks from Central Park and in his twenties co-authored “Central Park: A Visit to One of the World’s Most Treasured Landscapes.”
George attended St. David’s School and St. Paul’s School, and graduated from Yale University, where he was a history major and sang with the Baker’s Dozen and the Whiffenpoofs. In 1993 he married Louise Burnham, with whom he remained close after their divorce in 2006. He worked in advertising in New York and San Francisco before relocating to the Boston area. In his later years George was active at Hancock Church in Lexington, Mass. and sang with the Lexington Pops Chorus.
In the spring of 2000 George entered a hospice facility, yet his strong spirit and joy for living helped him leave hospice care, recover and persevere. He was able to see his children grow, and to be part of their lives, present for many school graduations, concerts, choir performances, family celebrations and summer days on Fishers Island. He was noted for his gracious acceptance of his health challenges, his unfailing politeness and positive attitude, and despite challenges, took great pride in being referred to by his doctor as her “miracle patient.”
George is survived by his children, Daniel and Anne, who were the light of his life. From their father they inherited a love for music, talent for singing, welcoming smile, and kindhearted nature. Additionally he is survived by his sister Jarmila (Jaji) Packard, her husband Luther Flurry, and nieces Thea and Virginia. He will be remembered and greatly missed by many relatives in the Packard, Daubek, Burnham and Webb families.
George cultivated numerous friends from across the decades, including many who visited and kept in close touch in recent months and years from Boston, New Haven, New York, New Jersey, California, and Hong Kong. His family particularly appreciates the great dedication and assistance of George’s friends Richard Kennelly, Alex Wilmerding, Sandy Herz and Yuet Chu; his sister-in-law the Rev. Krysia Burnham; and his cousin Amanda Packard. They are also grateful to Dr. Debra Shapiro and Dr. Diler Acar; his long-term caregivers Bonnie Ramage and Linda Weiss; and the support he received in his final months at Sherrill House.
In lieu of flowers, the family invites donations in George’s memory to any charities and institutions associated with George’s life including Hancock Church, the Lexington Pops Chorus, or Sherrill House (links below).
A memorial service for George will take place at Hancock Church in Lexington, Mass. on Sunday, November 12 at 6:30pm. A private burial will be held at a later date.