Representative Joyce Spiliotis, a Peabody Democrat who served in the Massachusetts House for 10 years, died Thursday morning, say House leaders and her family.
“I was truly shocked and saddened to learn of the death of my good friend and colleague, Representative Joyce Spiliotis,” Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said in a statement. “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.”
Spiliotis, 65, attended Peabody High School and served on the Peabody City Council from 1994 to 2003, according to her state biography. State House News Service reported that she had been diagnosed with cancer. A family statement indicated that she had kept quiet about her illness.
She leaves two daughters and was married to Richard Jarvis.
“Joyce was a public figure, but a very private person,” the family said. “She fought her battle courageously in private, as she fought publicly for issues important to her constituents. This is a painful and personal time for us. We will have no further public comments and appreciate the thoughts and prayers of all who loved her.”
The House minority leader, Bradley H. Jones Jr., a North Reading Republican, said in a statement that he and Spiliotis had long joked about the time she accidentally walked into a Republican caucus meeting.
“She was a fierce advocate for causes she believed in and matters critical to her constituents,” Jones said. “Partisan politics aside, Joyce was a great person to work with.”
Spiliotis served on various committees, including Municipalities and Regional Government, Ways and Means, Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, and Global Warming and Climate Change.