The town of Packwood, formerly Lewis, is unincorporated with a population of 400 people; it is located 35 miles northeast of the parish center in Morton. With its beautiful setting the community is nestled in the foothills of the Tatoosh Range. It provides a recreational mecca for fishing, hunting, skiing, camping, trail hiking and the lure of the wild huckleberry fields. There are many Catholic families who have summer homes in the area.
In 1968 Father Robert Daly, the resident pastor of Morton, began the celebration of weekly Mass in Packwood. The setting was the Community Hall. During the winter months Pen Neidermeyer graciously provided the use of his home; it was more accommodating to the smaller congregation.
The people cherished the aspiration of eventually having their own church. Father Belisle worked with them to find a suitable piece of property. On January 3, 1976 Mr. and Mrs. Ben Neidermeyer of Portland, Oregon gave to the Archdiocese a valuable piece of property in Packwood for a future chapel site. The property possesses a captivating view of Mt. Rainier. Mr. Harold Blanton was also instrumental in the conclusion of this project. Father Belisle presented the desires of the Packwood parishioners for a church to the Archdiocesan Stewardship Commission. However, the Archbishop felt that there were not enough parishioners presently to support this project and to maintain it. This situation could change in time.
On February 11, 1978 Father Cloquet transferred the Packwood Mass Station to the Methodist Church in Randle, so that the Sacred Liturgy could be more fittingly celebrated in a church environment. This transfer was approved by the Archbishop, and the Parish council on a trial basis for four months. However, in June, 1978 the Mass Station was moved back to Packwood to the newly opened Community Presbyterian Church.
This church continues to be the setting for the Saturday Mass. The weekly liturgy has been further enhanced especially with the music proper to the celebration of the Mass. Carolyn Lane was very helpful in developing the Packwood Choir. The faith of the people continues to grow.
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Members of St. Mary's Guild were very active in making vestments and linens for the altar at the Packwood Station. They also made four quilts to raffle off, homemade items such as aprons, pillowcases, and baby items for their gift box.
There was such a demand that added work parties had to be scheduled to keep supplies available. They also sponsored tables at the Labor Day Flea Market. Though few in number St. Mary's Guild continues to thrive through past and present help of people like Gladys Blanton, Anna Marie Decker, Ann Pliska, Herauf, Emma Kauer, Beth Robb, Mildred Fuchs, Bridget Eva Callahan, Betty Davidson, Agnes Young, Lucille Pakar, Ellen Koehler, Betty Hubka, Wanda Steichen, Elsie DeVries, Mary O'Clair, Eileen Kelly, and Mary Gale. A recent accomplishment was the initiation of a savings account for the Packwood Catholic Community in the Archdiocesan Revolving Fund. This was started with their savings in February, 1978. Each year it continues to grow, and it will assist this community with its future development.
Cameran Gale and Melissa Ann Wilson were the first babies baptized at the Packwood Station in the summer of 1979. The Station Church was also the setting for the weddings of Viki Hall and Phil Lawrence, and Cindy Hall and Jack Davis, the first celebrated in the Packwood area in 1981. The first funeral Mass at the Station was offered for Robert Koehler on June 9, 1980.
The Presbyterian Community dedicated their Church to the Lord's service in September 1979. Their hard working pastor, the Reverend George Merrin and his good wife Shirley also contributed much of their own labors and love to this church project.