Greek-American P. Spillis, Helped Build a Miami Architectural Powerhouse, 88 | community , general news
MIAMI, FL – Peter Spillis, who helped build a nationally recognized architectural powerhouse in his hometown of Miami, passed away on March 24 at the age of 88, the Miami Herald (MH) reported.
For over 30 years, Spillis “was involved in running a company that became best known as Spillis Candela and Partners, a name that was once practically synonymous with modern Miami architecture,” said MH, adding that “the Company is the oldest continuously operating in Miami. Dade County was later acquired and named by global architecture and engineering giant AECOM. The local office is still located in the Douglas Entrance building, which the company designed in Coral Gables in the 1980s. “
Spillis “took care of the business and production side of the company, said longtime partner Hilario Candela while leading the design,” reported MH, noting that “they both share responsibility for maintaining customer relationships and making lifelong friendships in the process.” said Candela.
“We had a wonderful relationship,” Candela told MH. “He was very thorough, very organized, and very focused on making sure the company was delivering.”
“In its heyday, the company had about 250 architects and engineers, who had grown from a total of a dozen or so employees when it joined in 1961,” Candela told MH, adding, “Spillis was already with the company when Candela was hired. Both retired in the mid-2000s after AECOM took over the company. “
Spillis was a founding member of St. Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Church in Kendall and participated piously until his death, the family said. He was also active in philanthropy for the Children’s Home Society and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Spillis was born in 1932 to John and Melpo Spillis, Greek immigrants and early settlers in Miami. He attended Miami High and studied architecture at the University of Florida before serving in U.S. Army intelligence during the Korean War, his family said, MH reported.
He then took a job as an architect at the famous Miami company Pancoast, Ferendino, Skeels & Burnham, founded in 1926 by the pioneer of Miami Beach architect Russell T. Pancoast, grandson of city founder John S. Collins. In 1971, Candela said he and Spillis bought Pancoast shares and became namesake partners.
During her more than 40-year tenure, the company has been responsible for numerous architectural landmarks in Miami, including the Miami Marine Stadium, the University of Miami Mailman Center for Child Development on the Jackson Memorial Hospital campus and several buildings on the Miami Dade College campus . and the Museum Tower office skyscraper in downtown Miami and the Douglas Entrance office building, which helped save Coral Gables’ historic 1920s entrance.
AECOM acquired the partnership in 2000 and they both worked with the company through 2004, Candela said. But while continuing to work as a consultant, Candela said Spillis, an avid golfer, boater, and fisherman, did not do so.
“Pete knew how to have fun in retirement,” Candela told MH.
Spillis died in Miami on March 24, his family told MH. No cause of death has been published.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, the former Electra Varkas; Children John, George, Joy and Peter; thirteen grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and sister Frieda Mookas. The funeral service will be private.
A public celebration of his life will take place on May 15th. Details are available online: peterjohnspillis.com.
In honor of Spillis, donations can be made to the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Andrew.