Rep. Joyce Spiliotis, a Peabody Democrat who has served in the House since 2003, passed away overnight, according to two of her colleagues. She was 65.
Spiliotis died after a battle with cancer, according to her House colleagues.
Rep. Bradford Hill, a good friend of Spiliotis, said he was “crushed” by the news of her death.
Hill commuted to the State House with Spiliotis for many years and said she kept her illness a secret. She was in the hospital during the last few days, he said.
“I didn’t know. She was very private about it,” he said. “She didn’t really tell anybody, which is a little surprising to me. She was so open and so frank in so many ways.”
“We had more fun on the way home, we laughed,” said Hill, a Republican from Ipswich. “She always had a laugh. We would call her a card. She was always fun to be around.”
Danvers Rep. Ted Speliotis said he knew she was not doing well, and thought she was in hospice care for some time.
“It is still quite a shock to see her go at 65 years old,” Speliotis said.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo issued a statement late Thursday morning.
“I was truly shocked and saddened to learn of the death of my good friend and colleague, Rep. Joyce Spiliotis, the vice chair of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government,” DeLeo said. “Joyce fought passionately for the causes and people of Peabody. She was down-to-earth, funny and universally liked by her colleagues in the Legislature as well as staff. All of us in the House of Representatives will miss her deeply.”
Hill said when they drove together she always talked about Peabody, particularly the senior citizens of the city. “I think what we are going to miss on the North Shore is her dedication to this job. She loved that city, the people of Peabody,” Hill said.
She was born and raised in Peabody and lived there her whole life. She was a Peabody city councilor from 1994 until her election to the House in 2003. She was also worked at the Salem District Court.
Spiliotis was elected in 2002 to represent the House’s 12th Essex District and was unopposed when she won reelection earlier this month.
The Peabody High School graduate is survived by her husband, Richard Jarvis, and two daughters, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Services have not been announced yet.