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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Computer Patriarch Packard, Business Pioneer, Dies at 83

LOS ANGELES -- David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Inc., patriarch of Silicon Valley and one of the most influential figures in all of American business, died Tuesday of pneumonia at Stanford University Hospital. He was 83.


From humble beginnings in a Palo Alto garage 57 years ago, Packard and his partner, Bill Hewlett, built a company in which technical competence, innovative management and consistent commercial success inspired generations of high-technology entrepreneurs.


Packard ideas such as "management by walking around" and "management by objective" are staples of business schools the world over.


Packard also made his mark in politics, serving three years as deputy secretary of defense under President Nixon. And he was a major philanthropist, supporting projects from the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, to Stanford University's Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital.


"I will not attempt to list his many awards and achievements," Bill Hewlett said in a prepared statement. "The greatest thing he left behind was a code of ethics called the H-P Way."


Born in 1912 in Pueblo, Colorado, Packard decided in grade school that he wanted to be an engineer.


He studied electrical engineering at Stanford, where he met Hewlett. In 1939, with $538, they started their company, tinkering on projects Packard called "inventions to order."


The company's first product was an audio oscillator, which Walt Disney Studios used in making the movie "Fantasia." By the end of 1939, Hewlett-Packard had made a $1,539 profit on sales of $5,369 -- and was profitable every year after that.


The company became a leading supplier of electronic instruments and test equipment. It followed up that success with the enormously popular H-P electronic calculator in the late 1960s, and eventually grew to become one of the country's biggest computer makers, with sales of $31.5 billion in fiscal 1995.