April 2, 1928 - January 17, 2020
Carl Leland “Buster” Packwood passed away peacefully in Sandpoint, Idaho on January 17, 2020 after a long battle with cancer and other chronic health issues. He was 91 years old.
Buster was born in Lewiston, Idaho on April 2, 1928 to Basil and Grace Packwood. He grew up and went to school in and around Lewiston, Idaho. Buster came from a musical family and was an incredibly talented musician. As a young man he quickly became one of the best-known guitarists in the Northwest. In his 40’s and 50’s he toured the country with multiple western swing and jazz legends, including King MacFarland, Rocky Rauch, The Texas Playboys and The Sons of the Pioneers. In 2011 he was inducted into The Western Swing Music Hall of Fame as a pioneer of the genre.
His aptitude for electronics and all things mechanical was also apparent at an early age. He was an inventor, a tinkerer and a self-taught engineer who worked as an electronics technician when not on the road playing music. During the 1970’s he helped setup and install some the first cable television systems in the country. He was also a highly regarded amplifier builder, making dozens of custom amps for musicians across the Western US. Even in his twilight years, he was consulted by technicians and repair specialists to troubleshoot and design tube amplification projects.
After living most of his life in and around the Lewiston area, Buster moved to Sandpoint, ID in 2018 to be near his sons. He was preceded in death by his parents, Basil and Grace, his brothers Bob, Ken and Lew and his sister Laurel. He is survived by his sister Edna Ragsdale (Walla Walla, WA), his sons Robert (Laclede, ID) and Sheldon (Sandpoint, ID), as well as a multitude of nieces, nephews and dear friends.
There will be a celebration of his life in Lewiston, Idaho this spring. To be notified of the date and time, please send an email to; [email protected] . In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer that you donate in Buster’s name to Sandpoint Music Conservatory or the music education program of your choice