A Salute to Ginny Packer, Founding Board Member of The Bedford Citizen

Ginny Wiley Packer (1944-2021)

When The Bedford Citizen’s founders began to assemble the paper’s inaugural Board of Directors in 2012, they were looking for people with organizational skills and a knowledge of Bedford.  Ginny Packer was a natural choice: she had an MBA in publishing and communications, and had recently retired as CEO of Pegasus Communications, a publisher specializing in systems thinking and organizational learning materials and conferences.  However, it quickly became clear that Ginny’s greatest contributions would come in the form of a spirited commitment to the principles of local democracy, a lively sense of humor, and a focus on moving good ideas into practice.

Ginny served The Bedford Citizen in a variety of roles as a board member, writer, financial supporter, member of the operating committee, and the chair of the early fund-raising campaigns.  Fellow board member Ginni Spencer, who also worked on fundraising, recalled, “Ginny was a strong believer in what The Citizen was trying to accomplish and felt that fundraising should be approached as an opportunity for others to help sustain what we hoped would become an enduring resource for Bedford.  Her tone was respectful but also cheerful and inviting, ‘Hey, have you been reading The Bedford Citizen?’  She put a tremendous amount of effort into laying the groundwork for so much of what we are now doing routinely.”

Teri Morrow, past president of The Citizen, echoed Spencer’s sentiments:  “Her [Ginny’s] tireless work on the board and committees of The Bedford Citizen was a gift to our organization and the community….Her work helped us grow our capacity and our professionalism…she was a pillar of our organization and will be dearly missed.”

Before Covid, Ginny was a frequent host of board and committee meetings in her home offering up coffee and goodies to fuel discussion on a myriad of issues.  In the early days of its publication, The Citizen was often developing policy and debating best practices in real-time as news broke around us.  It could have been onerous but Ginny helped to build a collaborative decision-making culture which remains an important part of how The Bedford Citizen functions today.

That collaborative spirit also included finding the lemonade among the lemons.  Morrow recalled an evening meeting at the Packer home when those in attendance found they couldn’t leave as a large tree had fallen across the road exiting Huckins Farm.  “It never occurred to any of us that we wouldn’t be welcome to wait out the tree removal in her living room.  We returned to find Ginny in her pajamas and getting ready for bed but she never hesitated to offer us a glass of wine and snacks and lots of laughter as we waited to be rescued.”

Ginny was joined in her support of The Bedford Citizen by her husband David, who predeceased her by just two weeks.  He frequently submitted Letters to the Editor and was interviewed by the paper in 2018 in connection with the publication of his memoir, “Finding Joy.”

Memorial arrangements for Ginny and David are incomplete at this time and will be made known when the date and place are finalized.

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