PAXSON “PACKY” OFFIELD, former chairman of The Billfish Foundation’s (TBF) board of directors, passed away Sunday June 14th at his home in Michigan. In 2011, Offield was the recipient of TBF’s most prestigious award, the Rybovich Lifetime Achievement Award.
He was a man who cared deeply for the world’s natural resources and matched that passion with support for research and conservation of billfish, bison, eagles, peregrine falcons and foxes. He also supported science to fight disease and to provide basic services, including funds for well water in a very distant remote area so the quality of life for others could be improved. Giving of his time and support included an array of organizations and causes, including serving as Chairman of the Santa Catalina Island Company, the Offield Center for Billfish Studies, the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies at USC, the Center for the Reproduction of Endangered Species at the San Diego Zoological Society, the Catalina Seabass Fund, the Avalon Tuna Club, the Catalina Conservancy, the IGFA, Offield Family Foundation, the Peregrine Fund, the Little Traverse Conservancy, Silver Creek Fishing Club, the Avalon Planning Commission, the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce and Catalina CHOICES, a drug and alcohol treatment program for the youth of Catalina Island.
Offield’s support of TBF made possible the organization’s commitment to remain firmly grounded in science; and through his support, our understanding of billfish stock structure, ecology and assessment science methodologies has been advanced and remain important today. He understood the power that applied science, along with economics, has on developing credible management decisions.
While strongly committed to billfish and other sciences, Offield was no “sciencegeek”; he was a top notch angler, offshore on his 85-foot Garlington, the Kelsey Lee, named in honor of his daughter, and as an avid fly fisherman enjoying both lakes and rivers. He also loved sailing, playing golf, skiing, kayaking, cooking, reading, photography and writing poetry. Offield’s positive footprint on the world’s natural resources, on science and individuals lucky enough to have known him is great. He will be sadly missed, but his legacy can continue if all who were touched by him continue the work he recognized as important.
He is survived by his wife, Susan, daughter Kelsey, sons Chase (Jena), who is a TBF Board Member and Calen (Amber); and stepson Rex, his brother James, and three grandchildren Capri, Christian and Owen.