Elmer D. Packheiser, author of “An American Life” passed away on September 1, 2019. He had recently written the book to share his life stories as he followed the legacy instilled in him by his parents and immigrant grandparents to achieve the American dream of opportunity in this county. He was 91 years old. Born in Montana to Oscar and Ovina Packheissr, Elmer was raised as a homesteader near the Canadian border. Elmer, and his brother, Frank, both learned to ride horses at the age of five so that they could ride with their mother to the one-room school house where she served as the teacher.
A few years later, the family moved to the family farm in Vichy, Missouri, following the death of his grandfather. Elmer’s sister, Ilene, soon joined the family and they spent many wonderful years going up on the Centennial Farm in the Ozarks. At sixteen, Elmer spent a memorable summer as a cowboy working the range back in Montana.
Upon graduation from high school, he enlisted in the Navy. He served as Medic and was very proud of serving in WWII for our country. Following the service, he attended the Missouri University of Science & Technology. He graduated with honors as a Mechanical Engineer and accepted a position with General Electric in Cincinnati. While with GE, he tested jet engines on Mt. Washington and worked on the Man-Orbiting Lab for NASA’s space program. He received honors for both projects.
Elmer moved his family to Annapolis to work for Westinghouse on sonar systems for the Navy and on AWAC radar for the Air Force. He again received honors for his work. While at Westinghouse, he also became a Toastmaster and was elected at the Lt. Governor for the District 18 which covered DL-MD-VA. Upon retirement, Elmer moved to Greencastle where he taught Physics at Hagertown CC and worked on the Martin’s Mill Bridge to repair the bridge prior to the 150th Celebration.
Elmer was predeceased by his wife Doris Regina Packheiser , son, Eric (Suzan) Packheiser, his daughter, Lisa Packheiser, and his brother, Frank (Colette) Packheiser. He is survived by a daughter Rita (Gary)Trenti and his sister, Ilene (Everett) Todd and brother-in-laws, Jimmy (Brenda) Williams and Richard (Wanda) Smith. He leaves behind four grandchildren, Matt Trenti, Greg Trenti, Laura (Chris) Rogers and Alan Packheiser.
On behalf of our family, we would like to express our gratitude to Pamela Henderson who served as their health care advocate and friend for over 25 years. We also wish to thank Pastor Horn for his kindness and support over the years. Sincere gratitude to the staff at Menno Haven for their excellent care and compassion. Donations are requested to be made to the Employee Appreciation Fund C/O Development Services, 2011 Scotland Ave, Chambersburg, PA 17201.
A graveside service with military honors provided by the Chambersburg V.F.W. Honor Guard will be held on Friday September 6 at 2:00 PM at the Cedar Hill Cemetery Greencastle with Rev. Martin Horn officiating. There will be no public viewing. Our thanks also to the arrangements made by Martin Zimmerman at Zimmerman and Son Funeral Home in Greencastle, PA.
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