Obituary for Dr. Merrill W. Packer
Dr. Merrill W. Packer died peacefully at his home in Paint Lick, Kentucky on March 8, 2018 following a long illness.
Born on July 5, 1934 in Logan, Utah, he was the son of the late Floyd M. and Ruth Wiser Packer. He leaves his wife of 32 years, Helen M. Sady; a sister, June Williams (Theo); four children: Annette Dester (James), Cindy Kingston (Merrill), Scott M. Packer (Donna), and David W. Packer (Brenda); fourteen grandchildren; twenty-six great grandchildren; a nephew and three nieces as well as many dear friends.
He grew up in Dillon, Montana and graduated from Great Falls High School in the Class of 1952. His studies continued at Utah State University where he completed his pre-dental education which was followed by his graduation from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry where he received the D.D.S. degree in 1959 and the M.S.D. degree in Periodontology in 1964.
His professional life included private dental practice in Anoka, MN and was followed by a career in dental education at the University of Alberta in Canada and the University of Kentucky. He was a lifetime member of the American Dental Association and an active member of the American Association of Dental Schools. He held numerous administrative positions throughout his academic career and served in Washington, D.C. as Director of the Division of Dentistry from 1970-74. From that post, he was recruited to Kentucky and appointed Dean of the College of Dentistry, a position which he held from 1974 to 1986. He retired from the University as Professor Emeritus in 1995.
During his years of retirement, he pursued longstanding interests in building, woodworking, and a variety of the arts from quilting to jewelry making, drawing and painting. An enthusiastic outdoorsman, he enjoyed fishing and spent many hours canoeing, gardening, and exploring nature. Throughout his life, he was a voracious reader, who loved books of all genres in varied interests. A man of great compassion and empathy, he supported family and friends in their various endeavors and actively volunteered in community life.
All memorial services will be private and, in lieu of flowers, friends are encouraged to make donations to a charity of their choice. Lakes Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.