On September 2, 2021 after 71 years full of love and laughter, Gregory Alan Packard left this world for his next great adventure. After a nearly decade-long battle with bvFTD and Parkinson’s, he passed peacefully at home, surrounded by his family, in the loving hands of his wife. While his illness changed many things, it never changed his spirit. He was thoughtful in his words, kind in his gestures, and loving in his embraces.
Born on July 7th, 1950 to Alfred and Mary Jane Packard, Gregory grew up in Hudson Falls, New York. He graduated from Hudson Falls High School, where he was a three-sport athlete (football, wrestling, baseball). He received both his BS (Physical Education) and MS (Adaptive PE) from SUNY Brockport. Greg took a brief hiatus from Brockport to enlist in the US Army. He served from 1970 to 1972, and was stationed in Germany. While abroad, Greg played baseball for the US Army as a member of the USAEUR League. Greg also played semi-professional football for the Hudson Falls Green Jackets. In 1972, Greg married the love of his life, Deborah Ricci. From then on Greg and Debbie were inseparable. Their marriage was one for the ages. A true partnership built on love and respect. Greg began his professional career in 1975 teaching PE at the Rochester School for the Deaf. He continued to teach and coach (soccer) at RSD until 1987 when he took a job at Brockport Central. Greg taught PE and Adaptive PE at Brockport from 1987-2005. Greg is most fondly remembered as “Coach” to the hundreds of student-athletes that played on his BCS football and baseball teams over the years. Upon his retirement, Greg became a supervisor of student teachers for SUNY Brockport.
When not in a gymnasium or on a ball field, Greg could be found as a lector at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, volunteering for the Special Olympics, playing softball, at Stafford Country Club, or in a theater watching his children perform. At his core, Greg was a family man, and for him, family came first - always. He and Debbie were blessed with 3 wonderful children; Lindsay, Geoffrey, and Justin. Over the years their family expanded to include Jason (Lindsay), Sara (Justin) and Chelsea (Geoff), and grandkids Avery, Benjamin, Audrey, Grady, and Jane. They were Greg’s most treasured gifts. He loved them fiercely, and enjoyed watching them grow.
In addition to his beloved wife, children, and grandchildren, Greg is also survived by his siblings; James (Mary Jane) Packard, sisters Mary Lynne Morency and Anne (Tim) Haynes, in-laws; Thomas and Jean Ricci, Cynthia and Chuck McCloskey, Michael Ricci, John Ricci, Joel Ricci, and many treasured nieces, nephews, cousins, and godchildren.
The family will receive friends at Fowler Funeral Home (340 West Ave, Brockport) on Friday, October 1st from 4-7pm. The funeral mass will be Saturday, October 2nd at 9am at Nativity BVM Church (152 Main Street, Brockport). Fr. Jason Hage, a former student of Greg’s, will be presiding.
Greg was unwavering in his kindness and compassion. He was a champion for all, while always rooting for the underdog. How else could he have remained a fan of the NY Giants and Milwaukee Brewers all these years? In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Greg’s name to the Special Olympics (https://www.specialolympics.org/get-involved/donate), so that all athletes may have a chance to play. In Greg’s memory, hug your loved ones, give everyone a fair chance, and always say yes to ice cream on the way home.
*Masks are requested by the family for the benefit of the youngest family members*