, Salem, MA

Local News

November 30, 2012

Joyce Spiliotis dies at 65

Longtime Peabody rep remembered for 'hands-on approach to politics'


A Peabody High School graduate, Spiliotis served on the Peabody City Council as a councilor-at-large from 1994 until 2003, when she became a state representative. She was a Peabody library trustee in the 1980s.

Spiliotis was elected in 2002 to represent the House’s 12th Essex District and was unopposed when she won re-election earlier this month. Previously, Spiliotis worked in Salem District Court as an office supervisor and union steward.

Yesterday, Congressman John Tierney said Spiliotis’ life “has been defined by service to others.”

DeLeo and Secretary of State William Galvin will set a date for a special election to fill the remainder of her two-year term. For the near future, legislative aides will answer phones at her office and handle day-to-day matters, according to DeLeo’s office.

Spiliotis served as vice chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government, the Joint Ways and Means Committee, the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee, and the Global Warming and Climate Change Committee.

Yesterday, a number of Spiliotis’ Statehouse colleagues said her legacy will be her commitment to her constituents. Not only did she know most of Peabody’s senior citizens, said former Mayor Michael Bonfanti, she knew them so well she could name their hairstylists.

“She has been supportive of people and their concerns as long as I can remember,” Bonfanti said. “Her heart has been in the city of Peabody.”

Spiliotis was instrumental in securing funding for work to address Peabody’s flooding problems, as well as numerous other city and school projects, Bonfanti said.

Bettencourt said she was a great support to his efforts to have a new middle school built in Peabody. She also advocated for funding for cleanup work at Crystal Lake in West Peabody and the Aggregate Industries neighborhood.

“She was at every neighborhood meeting,” Bettencourt said. “... Her passing is a tremendous loss to this city.”

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