Sylvia Joan Sillers

  • Born: March 22, 1939
  • Died: March 5, 2021
  • Location: Carlisle, Massachusetts

Concord Funeral Home

Director - Glenn D. Burlamachi, CFSP
74 Belknap St.
Concord, MA 01742
Tel. (978) 369-3388

Tribute & Message From The Family

Sylvia Sillers, longtime resident of Carlisle, passed away in her home on March 5, 2021, at the age of 81. Sylvia was the daughter of Hibbert Ludlow Sillers and Hildur Elvira (Lofgren) Sillers.

She was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and grew up in Watertown, a graduate of Watertown Senior High School in 1957. Sylvia graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College and went to work as a staff member at MIT Lincoln Laboratory before returning to Harvard for her master's degree in Applied Mathematics. She then worked for a succession of companies over a 40-year career, starting at AVCO Systems Division in Wilmington and ending with a 25-year stint at Raytheon where she collaborated on the functional design and software implementation of radar and communications systems procured from Raytheon under government contract. The highlight of her career was the installation of the COBRA DANE radar on the island of Shemya in the Aleutians in 1976, when women were foreign objects at remote locations.

From childhood Sylvia enjoyed handcrafts, both new and old, especially crocheting and knitting. Sylvia was an avid collector of antiques, particularly eighteenth-century American pewter made in the Boston area. She had become a lover of things "old" during her teenage years when she was initiated into the world of antiques by a cousin of her father. Her interests grew over the years. Sylvia bought her house in Carlisle because of its age and history and spent years in its restoration and filled it with the things she loved and collected.

In Carlisle, Sylvia also became an avid gardener, spending hours daily on the beloved daylilies she purchased from Bob and Love Seawright, hostas, spring bulbs and a final backdrop of viburnums. She loved the town of Carlisle and volunteered time to the Town, in serving 10 years on the Planning Board, 15 years on the Historical Commission, and stints on various ad hoc committees.

Sylvia cherished family and friends. She researched her family roots and maintained an online tree that grew to include generations of those who had gone before her. She was predeceased by her longtime partner, Richard Talayco, and is survived by her sister Sandra Schaider of Concord and her niece Laurel Schaider of Watertown.

Family and friends will gather to honor and remember Sylvia for a period of visitation on Wednesday, March 10, 6:00-8:00 pm at Concord Funeral Home, 74 Belknap St., Concord. Funeral service and burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Sylvia's memory may be made to:
Carlisle Historical Society
Box 703
Carlisle, MA 01741


Condolence & Memory Journal

Silvia was a truly remarkable woman and a delight to know. We met her through the Pewter Collectors Club of America, which she served as Secretary and member of the Board of Governors for many years. We shared a passion for pewter, but soon learned that we had many other interests in common, including history, old houses, gardening, and even classic sports cars. We will cherish our memories of PCCA adventures with Silvia, visiting museums, historical sites, and collections from New Hampshire to Virginia and as far west as Michigan. We are very fortunate to have been able to count her among our friends, and we will miss her very much.

-- George and Rita Witman, Grafton, Massachusetts, March 14, 2021

Posted by George and Rita Witman - Grafton, MA - Friend   March 14, 2021

Sylvia Dillard was as force of nature and a roll model for female engineers. I was lucky to know her and work with het on the Milstar program. She was dedicated to the success of the program, highly ethical, and whip smart. There were few women in power positions when I met her which speaks very highly of her abilities. I will miss her being alive in this world.

Posted by Marjory Bernard - Cedar Rapids, IA - Coworker   March 13, 2021

Sylvia took a big chance on a 25-year old confident whipper snapper from the mid-west. She promoted me to a system engineer in the Program Management Office on the MILSTAR program at Raytheon. It was my dream job! I had my first office with 4-walls and a door. She guided me in system engineering, let me make mistakes (and learn from them), brief senior management, and learn how large-scale engineering systems are specified, designed, developed, and tested. When Raytheon did not want to pay for my MBA, she made sure they did. While she told me many things, she told me to always to what is right for the whole company, even if it not popular with some individuals or groups. It will work out in the end. This was good advice and served me well over my career. My experience working for Sylvia shaped who I am and enabled me to become a successful technology executive at both American Axle and at General Motors. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to have known her! --Laura Hindy

Posted by Laura Hindy - TROY, MI   March 08, 2021

Very sad to hear of Sylvia's death. I worked with her and Dick on COBRA DANE when I was in the Air Force including a year on Shemya. After the Air Force, I worked at Raytheon and Sylvia was my boss on the MILSTAR commutations system. We kept in touch occasionally after I left Raytheon. We met again when she join the Pewter Collectors Club of America (PCCA) and enjoyed catching up. She was a well educated lady who knew how to apply her talents to make things work. She will be missed.

Posted by John Latch - Intervale, NH - Coworker   March 08, 2021

I was saddened to see of Sylvia's death. I worked with her at Raytheon and found her to be not only a talented engineer but also a remarkable person. I always treasured her wit and positive attitude. My condolences to all who knew her.

Posted by Alan Rohwer - Boxborough, MA - Coworker   March 08, 2021

We are so sorry to hear of Sylvia's passing. We knew Sylvia through the Pewter Collector's Club of America. She is one of the first people we met at a National Meeting and it was clear that she loved history and pewter. She was so engaging and very knowledgeable about several topics of conversation. She will be sorely missed at the PCCA meetings. Heartfelt prayers go out to her family from Laurie and Eric Lanka, Mansfield Center, CT.

Posted by Laurie Lanka - Mansfield Center, CT - Friend   March 07, 2021

Sylvia, we'll miss you for your quiet perseverance and dedication to our often overlooked hobby of collecting pewter. You my friend, were forever an asset and pleasant companion during the occasions we met at various National and Regional gatherings.
It is truly sad when a friend leaves this world for the next. You will be missed.

Posted by Eric Lanka - Mansfield Center, CT - Friend   March 07, 2021

Family Album