Eight Bells: William Brynes Packer Sr
Published on November 15th, 2014
William Brynes Packer Sr., 85, of Blue Bell, a longtime Philadelphia entrepreneur, died Thursday, Nov. 6, of heart failure at the Hill at Whitemarsh medical center.
Born March 22, 1929, Mr. Packer attended Germantown High School, where he graduated in 1946 as class valedictorian at 17. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1950 and earned a master’s degree in business from Drexel University in 1951.
In 1951, Mr. Packer joined Atlantic Refining Co. in Philadelphia, working in the research and sales department. After he left the company in 1957, Mr. Packer became known for helping to build chemical bulk-terminal storage facilities along the Eastern Seaboard, warehouses that stored and distributed hazardous-liquid chemicals used in paints, nylons, and synthetic fibers.
That year, Mr. Packer helped develop a liquid-chemical facility at the Delaware River Terminal on Delaware Avenue.
In 1961, he was called upon to develop a terminal for National Lead in New York, which wanted to use liquid sulfur for paint manufacturing. In 1966, he was asked to build a chemical terminal for Hercules Inc. and DuPont Co. in Wilmington, N.C., for nylon and fiber manufacturing. He continued to design chemical terminals until the mid-1970s.
In 1976, he helped develop Seaview Petroleum in Paulsboro, the last independent oil refinery in the United States at that time.
Mr. Packer served on the board of trustees of Germantown High School between 1973 and 1975.
A lifelong sailor, Mr. Packer owned a yacht, the Scotch Mist II. In 1985, he participated in several America’s Cup defenses in Newport, R.I.; Perth, Australia; and San Diego. After retiring from chemical engineering, Mr. Packer lived in Perth in 1985 and 1986.
He was a member of the America’s Cup Organizing Committee for 18 years. He was also a longtime member of the Ocean City (NJ) and New York Yacht Clubs.
Mr. Packer is survived by his wife, who was his high school sweetheart, Dalton Bradley; a son, William B. Jr.; daughters Patricia Ayerle and Linda; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Services were pending.
Memorial contributions may be sent to St. Thomas Church Whitemarsh, 610 Church Rd., Fort Washington, Pa. 19034.