Joel Pitlor

October 19, 1938May 15, 2018

Joel Ross Pitlor passed away peacefully at age 79 on May 15, 2018 at Stanley R. Tippett Hospice Home in Needham, MA. His last days were spent amidst the love of his family and closest friends. Joel was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Mollie and Nathan Pitlor, and the youngest brother of Dorothy, Helen, Norman, Anna, and Robert. He earned his bachelors’ in mechanical engineering at MIT, where he was a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi and had a pet monkey named Flunkout. He married Joan Maltz and they moved to Buffalo, NY, where he worked for Union Carbide, then relocated to Concord, MA, where they raised their three children. Joel continued his engineering career for a few years and joined the Institute for New Enterprise Development, helping people start and develop companies in impoverished areas of the country. An entrepreneur to the core, he decided to work for himself as a business strategist. Joel was an invaluable friend and consultant to his many clients, often hosting them at the house in Concord, where they became close friends with his family. In 1984, Joan passed away when Joel was only 45, leaving him with three teenagers to raise. Joel loved big and unconditionally. He cherished long conversations and connecting people. He could be wonderfully silly and wise, and had a huge generosity of spirit. Despite his children’s best attempts, he was impossible to embarrass. He encouraged his kids to do what they loved for work and to be true to themselves. Never a fan of the great outdoors, Joel was an early and enthusiastic adopter of new technologies. He was known for helping family, friends, and clients solve problems and had a rare ability to think outside the box and cut through distractions to find the simplest and best conclusion. Joel was an incorrigible flirt, and loved romantic comedies featuring Julia Roberts, Robin Williams, and Jack Nicholson. He once bought his friend, Marcel, a six-pound lobster and challenged him to finish it. Joel enjoyed sushi, bagels and lox on Sundays, and the late great House of Roy in Chinatown. Joel's love of travel took him around the world: he attended the Sundance Film Festival, viewed the total eclipse in Madagascar, sailed the Greek Islands, and visited China. He regularly attended shows at Boston's Huntington and ART theaters. He loved Kenny Roger’s “The Gambler,” the musical "The Fantasticks," and misremembering Hebrew songs after temple and belting out his own versions. “Carpe Diem” was a favorite expression. Despite a decade of declining health, he frequently commented on his remarkable good luck in life, saying his only sadness was having lost his wife too young. Joel will be missed deeply. He is survived by his daughter Margot and Adam Landsman and Lewis Geffen; Nelson and Heidi Thal Pitlor; Heidi Pitlor and Neil Giordano; grandchildren Julia Geffen, Delaney Geffen, Kendall Geffen, Jordan Pitlor, Danielle Pitlor, Amelia Giordano, and Milo Giordano; brother, Robert Pitlor, and his extended family. Graveside service will be at Temple Israel of Boston Cemetery, North Avenue, Wakefield, MA on Friday, May 18 at 10:30 am. After the service, family and friends are invited to Margot’s home. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to


  • Graveside Service Friday, May 18, 2018

Joel Pitlor

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