WINTER HAVEN, FL - Manuel "Manny" J. Packett, 95, died peacefully at home in Winter Haven, Florida, with Bernice, his bride of nearly 75 years, at his side. Born on June 1, 1923 in Provincetown, Massachusetts, he is now reunited with his brothers Francis, Richard and Lawrence as well as his beloved son Russell, daughter-in-law Betsy and son-in-law Marshall.

Perseverance and stamina would be traits that defined Manny throughout his life.  Growing up in Provincetown during the Great Depression was made even tougher with the loss of his father at age 5. Yet those hardships only served to strengthen his resolve.

At Provincetown High School he played football and excelled in track. During his senior year he met Bernice, the love of his life. His commitment and determination were evident as he would run the 14-mile round trip from Provincetown to call on her at her parents' home in North Truro. They married shortly after Bernice graduated in 1944.

In the early days, Manny worked a variety of jobs, including fishing and selling insurance to support his young and growing family. In the mid-1950s, he and Bernice moved the family up the Cape to Brewster. There they built and operated a grocery store, Packett's Market, for 30 years. Manny's stamina was on full display as he would work the butcher counter 7 days a week during the busy tourist season. Driven, literally, to do more, he started Packett's Transportation in 1963, providing bus service to schools on the Lower Cape for 20 years.

Following his retirement in 1983, Manny and Bernice began exploring Florida and, in 1985, became permanent residents of Swiss Village in Winter Haven. Swiss Village soon witnessed Manny's zest for life as he fully embraced his new community of friends. He served as treasurer of the Home Owners Association and was chairman of many dinners, luncheons and pancake breakfasts. He also planned, organized and oversaw more than a dozen cruises for Swiss Village residents, including trips to Alaska and Hawaii.

His life-long love for the water was evident when he would take family and friends for a cruise on his pontoon boat around the lake which bordered his home in Swiss Village. Whether it was during his time in Florida or all the years on Cape Cod, Manny was happiest when surrounded by his family. When asked what was his proudest accomplishment, he would simply reply, "My family." All five of his children graduated from college and went on to have successful professional careers, something in which he took great pride.

In addition to Bernice, Manny is survived by sons; Jim and his wife Betty, and Alan and his wife Marcia; daughters Pat and her husband Jack, and Marilyn and her husband Jeff; and daughter-in-law Peggy; as well as 10 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

A celebration of Manny's life will take place at Swiss Village on Saturday, January 12, 2019. Condolences can be sent to the family at 246 Alpine Drive, Winter Haven, Florida 33881. Memorials can be made to St. Jude Children's Hospital or charity of choice.