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Obituary: Kirk Henry Packo

May 20, 1953 – September 1, 2023

Kirk Henry PackoDr. Kirk Henry Packo, age 70, of St. John, IN, went home to his Lord and Savior on Friday, September 1, 2023. Beloved husband of Margarita “Maggie” Packo, nee Garcia. Loving father of Robert (Heather) Packo. Cherished grandfather of Penelope Kate. Step-father of Melissa De Alba and Amanda (Andre) Anderson. Step-grandfather of Isaiah, Maree, and Mya. Preceded in death by his brother, Mark (late Virginia Clark) Packo, and by his parents, Robert and Mary Margaret Packo.

Kirk Packo, M.D., F.A.C.S., was an internationally acclaimed vitreoretinal surgeon, educator, researcher, and inventor of several surgical instruments. Dr. Packo was Professor and Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Ophthalmology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and co-founder of the medical center’s Fellowship in Vitreoretinal Surgery. Additionally, Dr. Packo was a senior partner with Illinois Retina Associates. Dr. Packo’s interest in medicine began in childhood.

With a father who was an acclaimed professional photographer, Dr. Packo spent countless hours playing with cameras, working in his father’s darkroom, and appreciating the visual aspect of life. Naturally, his medical focus turned to ophthalmology. After completing his undergraduate degree in pre-medicine, and speech and drama at the University of Notre Dame, and medical school at St. Louis University, Dr. Packo graduated from the University of Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary residency program. He completed his fellowship at Emory University in Atlanta and then returned as chief resident of the Eye Service. Dr. Packo was certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and was a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He joined Illinois Retina Associates in 1985.

Dr. Packo was a dedicated researcher and has participated in numerous national research studies and clinical trials. His major research interests were in complex retinal surgery and instrument development. In fact, Dr. Packo invented more than 25 surgical instruments, held two U.S. patents, and collaborated on the development of the Artificial Silicon Retina. He sat on the advisory boards of several of the top manufacturers of retinal surgery instrumentation. He will be remembered by his patients for taking the time to give genuine, heartfelt care.

Dr. Packo enjoyed traveling the world with his wife, Maggie and creating precious moments with their grandchildren. Dr. Packo always had a passion for 1950s collectables, classic movies, and music. He took the most pride in encouraging the accomplishments of his peers and especially his son, Robert “Bob” Packo.

Memorial visitation Saturday, September 16, 2023, from 3 – 8 p.m. at Smits Funeral Home, 2121 Pleasant Springs Lane, Dyer, IN. Memorial visitation also on Sunday, September 17, 2023, from 9 a.m. until the time of the Celebration of Life Service at 10 a.m. at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be given in Dr. Packo’s memory to Providence Hospice or Lighthouse for the Blind.

For more information, please call 219-322-7300.

Smits Funeral Homes
Smits Funeral Homes
We are a family-owned business providing compassionate, professional end-of-life care. We handle all the details during a difficult time, so you can focus on the things that matter. We understand that each family is unique and has personal requests and traditions. Call our main office at 219-322-7300 to find out more about the customized services we can offer your family when the time comes.


  1. My condolences and thanks for knowing Kirk. My prayers are with him and Maggie. From the Flamingo Room to the reading of the sterile “joke” prior to surgery he will be remembered in the hearts of the thousands he touched.

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