Obituary Details

William "Bill" Thomas Packard Jr.

(01/14/1914 - 09/28/1955)
Courtesy of Lusk Free Lance, 09/29/1955

Wm. T. Packard, 41, Flagman on Highway Under Repair, Dies of Injuries After Struck by Truck

Injuries suffered when he was hit by a truck on north U.S. Highway 85, seven miles north of this city Tuesday morning about 10:00 o'clock, proved fatal for William Thomas Packard, Jr., at the Spencer hospital here at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. Packard's death was the 113th fatality on Wyoming highways this year and was the sixth recorded by Niobrara county.

According to the report made by State Highway Patrolman Harold Ogburn, Packard had been struck by a 1955 Hayes tractor, owned by the London Vancouver Express of London, Onatario, Can., and driven at the time by Kenneth R. Nelson, also of London. The tractor was pulling a huge Dorsey trailer. With Nelson was James E. Spance, of Naoma, Vancouver, Can., relief driver, who was in the outfit's sleeping compartment at the time of the accident.

Packard, it was learned, was flagging one-way (northbound) traffic and had stopped a truck and a passenger car on the stretch where the highway repair crew was at work. He gave the two vehicles the "go-ahead" signal and they moved northward.

Meanwhile, the Canadian truck and trailer had come up from the south and was continuing over the repair stretch, when Packard, then standing just off the blacktop on the east side of the road, for some undetermined reason stepped back onto the blacktop directly into the path of the oncoming truck driven by Nelson. Evidently his attention had been attracted towards the two vehicles as they moved away after being stopped, and he failed to realize that he was stepping into danger.

He was caught by the right front end of the vehicle, a cab-over-engive outfit and hurled a distance of approximately 30 feet into the borrow pit from the possible point of impact.

Lyle L. Miles, head of the maintenace crew, immediately radioed the state highway department garage in Lusk of the accident, and that office at once contacted the highway check station here. Patrolman Ogburn, accompanied by Dr. W.E. Reckling rushed to the scene. The Peet ambulance also was called.

Packard was placed in the ambulance and brought to Lusk, where examination revealed he had suffered dislocation of the hip joints, compound fracture of the pelvic bone, scrape injuries on inner part of the right leg, fractured left foot instep, cuts and bruises over left eye and about the body, and possible internal injories. After setting the hip joints and otherwise treating the injured man, it was learned that his kidney had quit functining about the middle of the afternoon. Uremia developed and this was given as the direct hastening of his death.

County Cornoner George Earl Peet, upon statements taken from both the two drivers of the involved truck and also from Packard, who is understood to have said that "the driver shold not be blamed for the accident" decided that no inquest would be held.

Funeral services for the victim will be held at 2 o'clock tomorrow (Friday) afternoon from the chapel of the Peet mortuary, with Rev. Clyde Spaulding, pastor of the Church of Christ officiating. Interment will be in the Lusk cemetery.

William Thomas Packard was born to William T. and Rozellie Packard January 19, 1914 at the family home 15 miles southeast of Crawford (Dawes County), Nebraska where he lived with his parents until the age of three years. The family then moved to Andrews, Nebr., living there for eleven years. At the age of 14 years, he and his parents moved to Van Tassell, Wyo., where they were residing at the time his father passed away.

A few years later "Bill" and his mother moved and homesteaded 75 miles north of Lusk in the Dogie community. From 1930 until the fall of 1936, they resided on the homestead. Then they settled on a farm one mile north of Keeline, where he was engaged in farming and cattle raising.

He was united in marriage to Lela B. Kaper at Douglas, Wyo., on January 22, 1938. A number of years later he married Maurine Spencer of Angdon, Utah.

For the past several years, he has been employed on the State Highway department. He passed away Wednesday morning, September 28th, 1955 at the Spencer hospital from injuries incurred in a highway accident. At the time of his demise he was 41 years, eight months and nine days of age.

"Bill" as he was always known, was always carefree and happy, and well liked by all who knew him.

He leaves to mourn his passing, his aged mother, Mrs. Rozellie J. Packard of Lusk; two sisters, Mrs. Lonie Rodgers of Harrison, Nebr., and Mrs. Earl Rodgers of San Pablo, Calif.; two brothers, Robert H. Packard of Lusk, and Elmer B. Packard of Mandan, No. Dakota, ten nieces, six nephews and a host of other relatives.

The Lusk Herald
October 6, 1955
William Packard Funeral Services Are Held Friday

Funeral services for William Packard, who died last Wednesday from injuries sustained when he was hit by a truck the proceeding day, were held at the Peet Chapel at 2:00 p.m., Friday, September 30. Rev. Clyde Spaulding, minister of the Church of Christ, officiated.

A mixed quartet composed of Mr. and Mrs. Dave Wood and Mr. and Mrs. Al Davenport, sang "Beautiful Isle" and "The Old Rugged Cross," accompanied by Mrs. Clyde M. Spaulding, organist.

Pallbearers were Lyle Miles, Lloyd Coleman, Kenneth Erlewine, Bud Crowley, James Ringer, Jr. and Alva Stetson. Interment was in the Lusk Cemetery with the Peet Mortuary in charge.

William Thomas Packard the son of William T. and Rozellie J. Packard, was born January 14, 1914, at the family home, 15 miles southeast of Crawford. When three years of age he moved with his family to Andrews, Neb., living there for a time.

At the age of 14 years he moved with his family to Van Tassell, where his father died. A few years later he and his mother moved and homesteaded in northwestern Niobrara County. There they lived until 1936 when they settled on a ranch one mile north of Keeline where he was engaged in farming and cattle raising.

He was married to Miss Lela B. Kaper at Douglas, January 11, 1938. After their divorce he married Maurine Spencer of Ogden, Utah.

Mr. Packard is survived by his mother, Mrs. Rozellie J. Packard, of Lusk; two sisters, Mrs. Lonie Rodgers of Harrison and Mrs. Earl Rodgers of San Pablo, Calif.; two brothers, Robert H. of Lusk and Elmer B. of Mandan, N.D.; ten nieces and six nephews.

The Lusk Herald
September 29, 1955
William Packard Dies From Injuries Received When He is Hit By Truck

William Packard, 42, of Lusk, died about 2:00 a.m. Wednesday from injuries sustained when he was hit by a truck about 10:00 a.m. Tuesday while flagging traffic. Packard was flagging traffic about seven miles north of Lusk where a Wyoming Highway Department was working when the accident occurred. The semi-truck which struck Packard was driven by Kenneth R. Nelson of London, Ontario, Canada.

Nelson was accompanied by James E. Spence, alternate driver, also of London, Ontario, Canada, who had been in the sleeping compartment of the truck but had come out in time to witness the accident. According to Nelson the northbound truck had been slowed to about 25 miles per hour or less when signs warning of the work appeared.

Nelson states that Packard waved other cars and the truck on, but before the truck passed the point where Packard stepped out on the highway evidently with the intent to cross the highway and speak with the occupant of a car on the other side. The right front portion of the truck struck Packard.

Among Packard's many injuries were four fractures of the pelvis, a hip fracture, a dislocation of the left leg and numerous cuts and bruises.

The truck was owned and operated by the London VanCouver Express and carried State of Washington license plates. Both Nelson and Spence come through Lusk on regular trucking runs about once every three weeks. The accident was investigated by the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

At the Herald press time Wednesday funeral arrangements for Mr. Packard were still indefinite.

Images & Attachments

Photo courtesy of Joshua Brackett's Eagle Scout Project

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