Cover photo for Amy Joy Packel's Obituary

Amy Joy Packel

January 9, 1967 — January 7, 2024

Amy Joy Packel

Born January 9, 1967 in Philadelphia, died January 7, 2024.

Amy graduated from Girls High in Philadelphia. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Vassar College. Pursuing her gift for connecting with and caring for children -- initially as a babysitter, camp counselor, and swimming teacher -- Amy moved to Tampa, Florida and took a position at Shriner's Hospital, while earning her masters degree in special education from the University of South Florida. She found her life's work when she accepted a position as a special education teacher in the Tampa school system. Despite serious health problems, Amy remained devoted to her job and, most of all, to her students, who had severe intellectual and physical disabilities. For over twenty years Amy scheduled her dialysis treatments late in the day so as not to interfere with her teaching schedule. She endured a number of hospitalizations and surgeries, but upon discharge from the hospital, Amy would inevitably go directly to school -- and her students. She taught them life skills tirelessly and creatively, and never stopped caring for them and advocating for them.

Amy returned to Philadelphia before Thanksgiving 2023, overjoyed to be with her entire extended family for the holiday season. Although she had expected to return to Tampa and her work, Amy ended up having to remain in Philadelphia and, ultimately, Abington Hospital. Amy spent her last days surrounded by, and connected by phone with, family and friends. She remained quintessentially Amy to the end: asking about her students, giving advice to colleagues, and sharing her abiding sense of humor, which never left her. Sedated and wearing an oxygen mask, Amy didn't respond to “Hi” shouted in her ear. Seeking a response, “Say 'Hi' back” was shouted in her ear. Amy, speaking with difficulty through the mask, said her last words, “Hi back.”

Amy is survived by her parents, Sandi and John Packel; her sister and brother, Robin Packel and Andy Packel; and her sisters-in-law Lora Packel and Shelley Klop. Amy derived the greatest pleasure from her nieces Corinne Packel and Nory and Kenna Klop-Packel, and from her nephew Jesse Packel.

Relatives and friends are invited to Memorial Services, Wednesday, January 10, at 2:30pm precisely, at Goldsteins' Rosenberg's Raphael-Sacks, 6410 N. Broad St., Phila., PA. Following services, all are invited to the home of Andy and Lora Packel until 7pm. Contributions in her memory may be made to the organization of your choice or to American Kidney Fund, or Shriners Hospital for Children,


Service will be livestreamed starting at 2:25pm EST at:

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Past Services

Amy Joy Packel

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Starts at 2:30 pm (Eastern time)

Goldsteins' Rosenberg's Raphael-Sacks Philadelphia

6410 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19126

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