Joanne Pagel (1949-2020) was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Nicholas and Rose Santell and grew up in nearby Parma, Ohio with her brother Thomas Santell and her two sisters Marilyn and Linda Santell. She studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art and earned her Bachelor of Arts from St.Thomas University and her Paralegal Certificate from Florida Atlantic University. While she attended art school in Cleveland, she met and married Douglas Pagel before both relocated to Boca Raton, Florida where she raised her daughter, Caren Pagel, and spent most of her life. Joanne was a survivor of Hodgkin's Lymphoma and lived a resilient and creative life in spite of the long-term effects of the radiation treatments used to stop the disease.
Everyone who knew Joanne recognized her abundant creativity and generosity. She was constantly involved in creative projects including—but certainly not limited to—art, sewing, baking, gardening, improving the home she shared with Douglas, and her more recent endeavor of sewing masks for her family. Her sister Linda remembers her most for her creativity, her love of beauty, and her nurturing spirit towards the people in her life, her beloved pets, and her cherished orchids. As Linda says, “Her love of beauty and nurturing spirit are reflected in the many orchids she tended and other beautiful flowers she grew over the years. Her green thumb was only outmatched by her striking green eyes. They were as unique as her artistic style.” Her brother Thomas also remembers her for her creative spirit and as a great artist, a loving mother to her daughter and loving sister to her siblings, but is also deeply grateful for her kind and loving heart, which she shared with friends, family, and animals alike. Her sister Marilyn’s sentiments reflect Linda and Thomas’ and she adds that, “Joanne was not only a creative artist, she was a perfectionist. That was evident in all of her endeavors. Those green eyes let her see things and interpret creativity in her own unique way. She is missed and my heart is broken.” Her husband Douglas fell in love with the beauty in her heart and her spirit and relied on her generosity and guidance over the past forty-four years. He says that Joanne was, “My strength, the love of my life. The love in my life. The life in my love. You are with me always and I with you.” Her daughter Caren hopes that what she has written here helps everyone see how beautiful and appreciated Joanne was when she was alive and how beautiful, appreciated and missed she will be for everyone who knew her.
Joanne loved visiting the Morikami Museum and Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida. We ask that you send the museum a small donation in her honor and think of her.
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