June 28, 1917 – October 9, 2010
The Rev. Packard Laird Okie, longtime assistant for pastoral care at St. Clement’s by-the-Sea Church, San Clemente, died on October 4 at his home in Capistrano Beach. He was 93.
Services will be held on Saturday, October 9, at 2 p.m. at St. Clement’s Church, 202 Avenida Aragon, San Clemente (949.492.3401).
Okie is survived by his second wife, Florence Carley Okie; his children, Jean, Laird and Charlotte; stepchildren Rachel, Rob and Sarah; and many grandchildren and extended family. His first wife, Mary, died many years ago.
He was a descendent of the two men for whom Packard-Laird Hall at Virginia Theological Seminary was named, and was also related to Bland Tucker (d. 1984), who served on the commissions that produced the Episcopal Church’s Hymnal 1940 and Hymnal 1982, and was author of several hymn texts.
All during his life and at St. Clement’s, Okie was known for his love of sailing and tennis, and especially for all things musical, especially folk music. He was an accomplished musician, and frequently entertained parishioners with his harmonica and guitar. He served the congregation from 1982 until 2008; the parish hall was recently named in his honor.
Before coming to Southern California, Okie served as priest in charge of Church of the Holy Comforter in Crescent City, Florida. He had previously been vicar of St. Margaret’s Church in Emmaus, Penn., vicar of St. Elizabeth’s Church in Schnecksville, Penn., and assistant at Trinity Church in Bethlehem, Penn. He also was for a time a chaplain at Princeton University.
During a 10-year stint as a missionary in Liberia after ordination, Okie was married and began his family. While he was in Africa, he made a recording, titled “Folk Music of Liberia,” which is available on the Smithsonian Institution’s Folkways label.
Okie was born on June 28, 1917 in Marshalton, Delaware. He held master’s degrees from Virginia Theological Seminary and General Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University. He was ordained to the diaconate in May 1942 and to the priesthood the following November.