1940 – 2014

GILL, Mass. — Dennis Lyndon Pillsbury, 73, died Sunday, Feb. 2, at his home in Gill, Mass.

He was born to the late Christine Annette (Haley) and Everett Lyndon Pillsbury on Sept. 28, 1940, in Phillips. Dennis graduated from Phillips High School in 1958, and received a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from the University of Maine in Orono in 1962. He married Joan Lois Pillsbury (Rumney) in 1970, and they lived in Norwalk, Conn., until they moved to Sunderland, Mass., in 1972, and eventually settled in Gill, Mass.

After working for RCA on early laser development, Dennis attended Northeastern University and earned a master’s degree in physics. He worked for Perkin Elmer Optical Division and was responsible for a 36-inch refractory telescope, which Princeton astronomer Martin Schwarzschild’s Stratoscope Project used to study Uranus. This telescope was periodically lofted under a hot-air balloon overnight to escape the Earth’s atmosphere before the days of satellites.

Because of his passion for environmental sustainability, he attended the University of Massachusetts and received a master’s degree in regional planning. His thesis was, “A Study of Development Rights Transfer and its Application in Sunderland, Mass.” Afterward, he returned to project engineering work at Cains Foods and Friendly’s. He held a certificate in human services from Greenfield Community College. Hoping to inspire in students his love of physics, he taught physics at Greenfield Community College and Holyoke Community College, then at Keene High School and Westfield High School, before retiring in 2009.

His interests included reading, writing, jazz, hiking, genealogy, projects at home and his property in Maine. He believed in alternative energy and he took great pride in his energy-efficient home and solar collectors. He was treasurer of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Mass., and shared his and Joan’s passion to establish a green cemetery in Massachusetts.

Dennis is loved and missed by Joan, his wife of 43 years; and their older son, David L. Pillsbury and his wife, Kathleen Margaret Gilmore Pillsbury, and their three daughters, Madigan, Kiley and Deveney; as well as their younger son, Mark L. Pillsbury and his wife, Kathleen McNary Pillsbury. Many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends also experience the loss of this gentle and kind man.

Dennis was lovingly cared for at home before and after his death by his family.

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