Born Pamela Furness in Baltimore and raised in Catonsville and Columbia, she was a 1971 Atholton High School graduate. She earned a degree in biology at what is now McDaniel College and had a second degree in education at the Notre Dame of Maryland University, as well as a master's degree in biology from Towson University.
In 1976, she began doing research on cholera in the infectious diseases labs at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. After five years, she moved to the Cancer Research Center. She co-authored research papers while working with Dr. Allan Hess and Dr. George Santos.
She became a full-time mother in 1987 and served on the Linthicum Elementary School PTA, the Citizen's Advisory Committee and the Linthicum Ferndale Youth Athletic Association.
In 1997, she began teaching biology at Glen Burnie High School, where she also became the science department chair and was National Honor Society adviser. She also was an assistant coach of the cross country teams.
Mrs. Engel participated in a pilot project of 13 teachers to be certified to teach genetics to high school students under an American Society of Human Genetics program.
In 2010, she became an adviser and mentor to teachers at South River High School.
A memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday at St. John Lutheran Church, 300 W. Maple Road in Linthicum, where she was a member and former Sunday school teacher.
Survivors include her husband of 35 years, Alan R. Engel, an attorney; two sons, Gregory Engel of Washington, D.C., and Timothy Engel of Baltimore; a daughter, Meredith Engel of Linthicum; her mother, Carolyn Lavern Furness of Catonsville; a brother, Russell Furness of Glen Burnie; and two sisters, Robyn Furness-Fallin of San Jose, Calif., and Carla Furness Grimes of Stevensville.