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Post My Memories of Herbert L. Packer
Created by John Eipper on 10/16/19 3:38 AM

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My Memories of Herbert L. Packer (Henry Levin, USA, 10/16/19 3:38 am)

I knew Herb Packer, the father of George. Packer was a distinguished law professor who died at only 47 years of age after three severe strokes. He had a history of depression, and the death was an apparent suicide.

Herb was friendly, smart, intense, and deeply involved in both Stanford affairs and in world affairs. The last years of his life were in the early seventies when the Stanford campus was aflame with anti-war protests, and the university was accused of complicity in the Vietnam War with charges against its important leaders, including Packer, who was Anti-War. There are many who believe that these pressures and his depression led to the strokes. I have no idea how George experienced this at the age of 12 in 1972. (I joined the Stanford faculty in 1968, so witnessed this closely.)

In my view, Packer was a valued colleague and faculty member, always ready to sit down with a colleague to discuss or debate issues. He would have been a great addition to WAIS. I don't know what relation he had with Ron Hilton, but remember that Ron was constantly angry at administrative decisions such as the closing of the Department of Architecture (over a summer, when faculty were not around), and Packer may have been viewed as friendly to the Stanford decision-makers).


JE comments:  Strokes aren't supposed to happen to people in their early forties.  I will check my notes from the Ronald Hilton archives (Hoover Institution) for references to Prof. Packer.  As Hank Levin notes above, Prof. H was quite the gadfly on the Stanford campus.  His preferred weapons were letters fired off to the Administration and/or any newspaper that would hear his story.  He was very critical of the Stanford higher-ups, but even more so of the student protestors of the late '60s-early '70s.

Prof. Packer indeed would have made a model WAISer.  What a sad story.

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