The Packards are memorialized in Lakewood for their community spirit and for their generous gifts toward village improvement. They came in the late 1880's as summer visitors. After building their mansion in 1912, they became full time and enthusiastic residents. The Village Hall, headquarters of municipal government and public safety, stands on a plot of land Mr. Packard deeded to the village. He also provided partial funding for the building's construction, and at its dedication in 1915 presented a Ford Model T chemical truck to the fire company. It was the company's first motorized vehicle and remains a proud artifact of its history. The purchase of a set of carillon bells, a distinctive feature of the Lakewood Methodist Church, was made possible by a Packard gift. After Mr. Packard's death in 1928, Mrs. Packard remained involved in civic affairs. She served two terms on the Lakewood School Board. At the same time she created and funded scholars for high school students, and privately supported needy individuals who wished to further education. Shortly before her death in 1960, Mrs. Packard made a monetary gift to the Southwestern Central School Board toward the creation of a new athletic field on that school's property. This prominent couple, recognized for their generosity, were also regarded as good
friends and neighbors. The village young people who came to know Mrs. Packard personally have especially fond memories of her cheerful personality and warm hospitality. The presence of the Packards in Lakewood has become legend. Elizabeth Gilmer Packard 1871-1960. James Ward Packard 1863-1928.