Cover photo for Amal F. Tawfik's Obituary
Amal F. Tawfik Profile Photo

Amal F. Tawfik

May 30, 1929 — July 28, 2022


Amal F. Tawfik

Born nearly a century ago in Cairo, Egypt, Amal Tawfik entered the world on May 30 th , 1929, when Egypt was a British controlled monarchy where women couldn’t vote and rarely pursued higher education. Throughout her life, Amal set out to change that.

She studied English Literature at Cairo University receiving lectures from renowned intellectuals like Taha Hussein and TS Eliot. She used her literary talents to write for the newspaper of anti- colonial campaigner and Wafd Party leader, Makram Ebeid. She contributed short stories to his paper that advocated for an end to British rule. In 1948, when King Farouk divorced his wife for failing to produce a male heir, Amal joined her classmates in boycotting their classes for three days in protest, forcing the school to temporarily close. In 1951, when renowned Egyptian feminist, Doria Shafik, called on women across Egypt to descend on parliament to demand an expansion of their political rights, including the right to vote, Amal boarded a train from upper Egypt and took the long journey back to Cairo to join fellow Egyptian suffragettes as they besieged the Egyptian parliament insisting on their enfranchisement. It took another 5 years until women in Egypt were granted the right to vote in 1956.

In addition to her writing and feminist activism, Amal was an educator, first as an English teacher and then as a school inspector. She was active in Egypt’s teachers’ union as well as Egypt’s YMCA and YWCA where she coordinated their summer camp program. Before her retirement, she helped develop Egypt’s new curriculum for teaching English. She married Bassily Sabbagh in 1959 and they remained together until his passing in 1982. They shared a love for books and education. Bassily was also a teacher before becoming a high school
principal. Their home was always a hub for visitors where they entertained guests for meals, extended stays and even one couple who decided to spend their honeymoon in Amal and Bassily’s home.

Amal was a mother to 3 children: Sally Kaldas, Kamal Sabbagh and Samy Sabbagh; the three of whom grew up multilingual and eventually immigrated to the United States. Her daughter, Sally took on her mother’s feminism and determination. Her son, Kamal inherited her passion for reading and politics. Her son, Samy embraced her love of people and building community. Her daughter in law, Betina, shared her passion for flowers and the gift of life and beauty they represent.

In 1988, Amal joined her daughter, Sally, in the United States to help care for her new grandchildren, Timothy, Daniel and Jonathan Kaldas who meant the world to her and were a persistent source of pride as they pursued their studies and careers. She continued to be an  educator, teaching her grandsons and working as a librarian for years at Killam Elementary School in Reading Massachusetts before moving to the Reading Public Library where her colleagues and friends knew her as “Amy.” Amal had a passion for reading literature and her collection of books was a source of pride and joy. She would often share stories of her father’s  enthusiasm for encouraging her reading and supporting her purchase of books as a girl. When she moved to the US she reconnected with her beloved YMCA, using the pool at the Reading Y for decades. She also became an avid gardener and for two decades proudly tended to her garden outside her home on Frank D. Tanner Drive in Reading. She would always insist her guests behold the beauty of her roses while jokingly cursing the “wicked” deer and rabbits when enjoyed dining on the flowers and vegetables she had grown on her apartment building’s

On top of books, gardening and politics Amal had a love for the pleasures of life and the adventures life made possible. She loved to dance in her youth and travel whenever she got the chance. She would often fondly recall her visits to Spain and her trip to England and Scotland that included a chance to visit the Globe Theatre in London, home to the plays of one of her favorite author’s, William Shakespeare. She loved her wines red and bold, her whisky neat and her beer ice cold.

Despite her advanced age at the advent of social media, Amal was active on Facebook; regularly posting and commenting on the posts of family scattered throughout the world who she always kept in touch with and close to. Her posts ranged from sharing prayers, celebrations of birthdays, posts about women’s rights and climate change, and even taking the time to advise her grandson that he go for a gin and tonic rather than a scotch and cigar.

Amal was a pioneer, a thinker, an activist, an adventurer, a bon vivant and a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She entered a world where women’s choices were unjustly restricted and left it 93 years later having contributed to the expansion of their possibilities while inspiring others to continue pushing forward.

She is survived by her siblings, Moneer Tawfik and Viola Tawfik, her children, Sally Kaldas, Kamal Sabbagh and Samy Sabbagh as well as her daughter in law, Samy’s wife, Betina Sabbagh, her grandsons Timothy, Daniel and Jonathan Kaldas as he well as her granddaughter in law, Daniel’s wife, Amie Kaldas and her great grandson, Cooper Kaldas. Additionally, she is survived by an extended family of nieces, nephews and their children who live throughout the world and who she adored.

Family and friends are kindly invited to gather and share memories with the family in the Doherty Barile Funeral Home 11 Linden St. READING on Monday August 1, 2022 from 4 pm to 7 pm. Parking attendants and elevator available.

A Funeral Mass Celebrating Amal's Eternal Life will be held on Tuesday August 2, 2022 at 11 am in St. Marks Coptic Church 140 Oak St. Natick MA 01760. Please go directly to church.

Please consider donations in memory of Amal to the American Cancer Society.


Past Services


Monday, August 1, 2022

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Doherty-Barile Family Funeral Home

11 Linden St, Reading, MA 01867

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Tuesday, August 2, 2022

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Mark Coptic Church

145 Oak St., Natick, MA

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Tuesday, August 2, 2022

12:45 - 1:15 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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