In Memoriam: Paxson H. Offield 1951 – 2014

Paxson “Packy” Headley Offield was born on October 31, 1951 in Chicago, Illinois to Wrigley and Edna Offield. He attended the Latin School in Chicago and the Catalina Island School in Toyon Bay. He graduated in 1975 from the University of Denver with a degree in Economics. In 1978, he was teaching at the Catalina Island School when he was asked to join the Santa Catalina Island Company. He spent 30 years serving as chairman, president, and CEO.

A dedicated conservationist, Packy’s masterful stewardship of the Earth’s natural resources and fisheries will impact generations to come. He was a director and chairman of The Billfish Foundation; board member and former chairman of The Peregrine Fund; chairman of the Catalina Sea Bass Fund; co-chair of the Offield Family Foundation; president of The Tuna Club Foundation; chairman and director of the Pacific Division for the National Coalition for Marine Conservancy; director of the USC Wrigley Marine Institute; board member and passionate supporter of the Little Traverse Conservancy. His philanthropic nature touched countless organizations in the Harbor Springs area, and he was always ready to provide behind the scenes support for this place he loved deeply.

Although Packy was never one to seek attention, his stewardship efforts earned him countless award over the years. Some of his accomplishments include being presented the Commendador Award by the President of Panama in 2006 for the Peregrine Fund’s work reintroducing the Harpy Eagle; the San Diego Zoological Society’s Conservation Medal for his work satellite tagging marlin (2006); he was inducted into the International Game Fishing Association Hall of Fame in 2011; received the Rybovich Lifetime Achievement Award for his work with the Billfish Foundation (2011); he twice earned the distinguished honor of Tuna Club Angler of Year; he was also presented the McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital Foundation’s Jack Clark Philanthropy and Service Award in 2014.

Spending time with his family and friends was the most important priority in Packy’s life. He loved creating opportunities to be together, whether organizing fishing trips or sharing his favorite hobbies. Water was deeply embedded in Packy’s heart and soul; he loved sport-fishing and conservation equally and took every chance he could to promote the beauty and importance of healthy oceans, lakes and rivers. He was an avid deep-sea fisherman and fly-fisherman, as well as sailor. A major sports enthusiast, Packy also enjoyed playing golf, shooting, skiing, kayaking, attending spring training games and many other sporting events. He also loved reading, and was an excellent photographer, cook, and poet.

On June 14, 2015, Packy passed away peacefully at his home in northern Michigan, surrounded by his loved ones following a courageous battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He is survived by his wife, Susan, his children, Chase (Jena), Kelsey, Calen (Amber) and stepson Rex; as well as three grandchildren, Capri, Christian, and Owen, and his brother, James Offield.

A celebration of Packy’s life will be held on July 2 from 4:30-6:30 at 7439 Hoyt Road. In lieu of flowers the family encourages memorial donations be made to the Little Traverse Conservancy. Arrangements were made through Schiller Funeral Home.

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The Peregrine Fund