Our beloved husband, father, grandfather, greatgrandfather and brother
PETER J. PHILLIOU
of Winchester, MA
Peter J. Philliou, M.S., J.D., age 86, of Winchester, MA passed away on Jan. 6, 2016.
He was the husband of Helen S. Philliou of Winchester, MA. Peter was born in 1929 in Astoria, New York, as the second of the four children of May and James Philliou, originally from Siatista, Greece. He excelled at academics and sports from a young age. He earned an academic scholarship to Brooklyn Technical High School where he also played varsity baseball team. He managed to make time to also play for a Kiwanis baseball team and helped lead them to the state championship during high school.
Peter turned down scouts from the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers to attend MIT where he earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering. While at MIT, he enjoyed the academic rigor, playing varsity baseball and the classic engineering pranks for which MIT is famous. He was a participant in ROTC and entered the United States Army shortly after graduation, serving as an officer during the Korean War. After the war, Peter returned to work in NY where he met and fell in love with Helen Spiridon of Warren, PA. They were married in the summer of 1961. They soon settled in Winchester in 1963 where they raised three children and participated regularly in local town government and community activities. Peter was a familiar face in youth sports and at school events. He coached baseball and soccer for his three children and he and his son were frequent and successful competitors in the father/son tennis tournaments at the Winchester Swim and Tennis Club and the Winchester Packer tennis courts.
He worked for General Electric for a time before being bringing his engineering talent and drive to assist the US in winning the race to space. He worked for Draper Lab, supporting the Gemini and Apollo missions, and was proud to be on the team of America’s best and brightest who achieved President Kennedy’s national goal of putting men on the moon and bringing them successfully home before the end of the 1960’s. After the Apollo missions, Peter turned his attention to environmentally oriented engineering projects like steam engines for consumer vehicles. He had earned a law degree from Suffolk University and used it to assist with the legal aspects of his engineering projects. He was an advocate of clean fuel and reduced carbon footprints far ahead of his time. He served on the Winchester Energy Committee, Massachusetts Engineering Council and as a town meeting member in Winchester. In 1976, he was appointed as Director of the Curriculum Center at Wentworth Institute of Technology and Wentworth College of Technology in Boston. The Center was established in 1966 and is devoted to faculty and curricula development, creation of teaching aids, revision of curricula and serves as an exchange center in engineering technology education for other schools, foreign and domestic. In the process of leading the Center, he discovered a true love for teaching. He taught both advanced engineering classes at Wentworth Institute and mathematics and statistics at Northeastern University for over 25 years. He enjoyed mentoring students and served as faculty advisor for Women in Engineering. He always enjoyed putting his academic knowledge into practical application through being a part of team of engineers or team of faculty training the next generation.
For many years, Peter was a dedicated volunteer for the family parish, the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Lexington, MA. He served in numerous capacities from Superintendent of the Sunday school to being a long standing member of the church council. Being fluent in Greek since childhood, he also studied ancient Greek and theology at St. Nicholas as part of his biblical studies. As with his academic pursuits, he was always mindful of putting his studies into practical application by working on a team for the greater good. His tireless service to the parish was a reflection of that commitment.
He earned a BS in mechanical engineering from MIT, Masters degrees from Northeastern University, Columbia University and Brooklyn Polytechnical Institute and a degree in law from Suffolk University. He is survived by his wife, Helen S. Philliou of Winchester, MA and three children, Dimitrios Philliou of San Francisco, Thea M. Philliou of Winchester, MA and Christine Philliou of Berkeley, CA, four grandchildren and one great grandchild, and his brothers Philip Philliou of Cloister, NJ and George Philliou of Allendale, NJ. Peter receiving an award from Metropolitan Methodios for his service to St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 1994.
Donations can be made in his memory to the MIT Class of 1951 Fund for Excellence in Education and the Memorial Fund for Current Purposes,
600 Memorial Drive, Room W98-500, Cambridge, MA 02139-4822.