Sunday, August 4, 2013

Wehrli Douglas Pack (1889-1975)

From the January 10, 1937 Salt Lake Tribune.

  Blessed with a truly unusual first name, businessman, Mormon leader and political figure Wehrli Douglas Pack was for many years one of Holladay, Utah's most distinguished citizens. A one-term member of the Utah legislature, the exact meaning behind Pack's odd first name "Wehrli" is unknown at the time of this writing, as are a number of other details in regards to his early life. The son of Ward Eaton (1834-1907) and Selena Carpenter Pack (1864-1900), Wehrli D. Pack was born in Laie, Oahu, Hawaii on July 28, 1889. Ward Eaton Pack was the father of seventeen children and was a prominent figure in the early days of the LDS Church, being one of the first Mormon missionaries to the Hawaiian Islands during the 1850s. He served in the Utah territorial legislature in 1876 and 1880 and later made a second trip to the Islands during the 1880s.
  Wehrli D. Pack returned to Utah with his family at age two, according to a 1937 edition of the Salt Lake Tribune, and as an adolescent attended the Uintah Academy and the Summit Academy. He later continued his education at Brigham Young University, although his exact graduation year remains a mystery at the time of this writing. Pack later spent time in Chicago and Portland, Oregon and for the majority of his life was a prominent businessman in the Salt Lake County area, being the president of the "Pack-n-Save" market in the city of Holladay. This market (with its wonderful play on Pack's last name) had its grand opening in 1935, and in addition to serving in this capacity Pack was a "master mechanic, radio engineer, and farmer." He is also recorded as an assigner for the Utah Radio Products Company and in 1926 filed an application to patent a type of loudspeaker, and five years later was issued a patent for his invention.
  Pack married in Salt Lake City in 1917 to Ms. Lucile Adelia Hart (1890-1921) a native of Bloomington, Idaho. Their marriage proved to be short-lived, as Lucille died in July 1921 at age 30. In the year following her death Pack remarried to Ruth Mildred Fisher (1902-1956), to whom he was married for over thirty years. Wehrli Pack was also the father of several children, including Douglas Hart (1918-2000), Ramon Hart (died in infancy in 1919), Lucile Bernice Pack Slack (1921-1999), Mildred Pack Jolley (1923-1999), Ward Elden (1925-1998), Wallace Dean (birth-date unknown), Lillia Pack Martindale (birth-date unknown), Annette Pack Frederickson (birth-date unknown), Melvin (birth-date unknown) and Donna Gail Pack Eggertson (1943-1999).

From the September 10, 1936 edition of the Salt Lake Tribune.

  Active in Holladay civic affairs in addition to his grocery business, Pack served as the President of the Holladay Civic League for a number of years and also served as the finance committee chairman for the Mount Olympus Latter Day Saints ward. In 1936 Pack was elected as one of Salt Lake County's representatives to the Utah State Assembly, taking his seat in January of the new year. In a Salt Lake Tribune notice on his election in November 1936, Pack is quoted as describing himself as a "conservative progressive" and that he favored a "direct primary law and changes in the law enforcement setup with a view to eliminating waste and inefficiency". During his one term in the legislature, Pack took part in a study of "proposed laws affecting Utah grocers" as a member of the committee of the Utah Retail Grocer's association. 
   In 1938 Wehrli Pack was named as a Bishop for the Mt. Olympus ward of the Latter Day Saints Church. He succeeded Charles E. Coxe, who had died some weeks prior. In December 1940 the Murray Eagle published an article denoting the creation of a new place of worship for the parishioners of the ward, with Pack and his counselors trying to "uphold the standards of the ward and continue the splendid work begun under the leadership of Bishop Coxe". Busy as both a legislator and church leader, sources of the time denote Pack's personal hobbies as "scientific experiments" and tinkering in a workshop in his home. The Salt Lake Tribune also notes him as being a skilled fisherman, mountain climber, and as a member of the local Masonic fraternity and the Utah Sons of Pioneers.
  In 1956 Pack's wife of over thirty years died. Following Ruth Fisher Pack's death, Wehrli remarried for a third time in March 1957 to Louella Pederson (1904-1977), a native of Big Cottonwood, Utah. Little could be found on the later years of Pack's life, although it is known that he authored an extensive history of his family entitled "A Bit of Pack History" which was published in 1969. Wehrli Douglas Pack died at his home in Holladay on October 23, 1975 at age 86, and was later interred at the Salt Lake City Cemetery. He was survived by his third wife Louella, who died two years later at age 73. Lucile Hart Pack and Ruth Mildred Fisher Pack are interred at Salt Lake City Cemetery as well.

From the Murray Eagle, December 1940.


  1. Anna Catherine Wehrli was Selena Carpenter's mother, hence the name Werhli Douglas Pack.

    Lilia Pack - May 13, 1928
    Wallace Dean - Nov 4, 1934
    Annette Ruth - August 16, 1939
    Melvin James - Nov 17, 1941

  2. My great grandmother Mary Agnes Pack was his half-sister. She died before I was born, but her sister Pearl Irene Pack lived with my family all my life until I was married. I remember her talking about her brother Wehrli, and I was intrigued by his name. (Kathleen Ingham Perona Seable)