Lucile S. Packard, a major Silicon Valley philanthropist, died Saturday of cancer. Mrs. Packard, the wife of Hewlett-Packard Chairman David Packard, was 72.
A native of San Francisco, Lucile Salter met David Packard when both were students at Stanford University. They were married in 1938.
In the late 1930s, she helped her husband and William Hewlett set up a small electronics shop in a garage in Palo Alto. That company now has 82,000 employees and is one of the world’s largest and best-known technology firms.
“My role,” Mrs. Packard once said of the firm’s early days, “was typing the letters, keeping the records and heating up the coffee pot.”
She is credited for coming up with some company traditions, including morning coffee and bakery treats, an annual company picnic and making sure employees who get married or have children are remembered with gifts.
The Packards gave millions to several causes, including the Children’s Hospital at Stanford University, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the San Jose Museum of Art.
Officials at Stanford said the Packards’ $40-million gift enabled the university to begin building the new Children’s Hospital. “She was really the inspiration,” said Charles A. Anderson, who succeeded Mrs. Packard as chairman of the board of Children’s Hospital. “I really think it would not have happened were it not for her.”
A memorial service was scheduled for Thursday at Stanford University Memorial Church.