Philip Joseph Schlueter, 81, of Mashpee (and Marco Island, FL) passed away on September 27, 2017 at the McCarthy Hospice Center in Sandwich after a long-fought battle with cancer. He was a true testament to courage, determination, and humility. He was loved and admired by all who knew him.
Phil, otherwise known as “Bubba” to his 7 grandchildren, is dearly missed by his family: wife Marge of 57 years, children Gail Billings and husband Rick of Marblehead, Mark Schlueter and wife Kristy of Boulder, CO, Elle Sullivan, wife of late husband Bill Sullivan of Franklin, and Kristen Burrell and husband Ken of Arlington. Grandchildren include Jen and Chris Billings, Travis, Briona and Aubree Schlueter, and Collin and Ryan Burrell. Phil’s loving siblings include the late John Schlueter and wife Joan of Marblehead, Max Schlueter and wife Kay of Northfield Falls, VT, James Schlueter and wife Arlene of Mashpee, Carol Hendler and husband Marc of Henderson, NV, and sister-in-law Kathi Power and husband Leo of Brookline.
The son of Trudy and Clement Schlueter, Phil was raised in Newton, MA with his 3 younger brothers and sister. They all soon discovered his innate ability to fix anything when he first took apart and fixed the family’s washing machine at age 11. Not surprisingly, Phil later graduated from Lowell University with a bachelor of science and master’s degree in electrical engineering. He put his skills to work at GTE, as he climbed from engineer to manager of defense-level programs for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and NASA. He made many notable contributions to science and the U.S. national defense over his distinguished career. He helped design a precision clock that enabled our nation’s manned lunar missions and he developed the navigation system for one of our earliest space telescopes. During the cold war, Phil managed our primary early-warning radar system in the Pacific located in the Marshall Islands and demonstrated our ability to detect and track foreign missile launches. He developed communication systems for our nuclear submarines and cost-effective, mobile communication systems for U.S. war fighters on the ground.
As accomplished as he was at work, Phil was an even more dedicated son, brother, husband, father, and grandfather. With his engineering skills, he built a summer home on Cape Cod (almost all by himself). He helped with projects; built playrooms and swing sets, go-carts, and forts. He told funny stories and scary ones, too. He gave piggyback rides and played tickle-monster games. He took us on the ocean and taught us to sail. He taught us math (until we girls cried) and later taught us to drive. We learned how to read maps and budget our money. We travelled around the world and spent many memorable years on Kwaj.
In his retirement, Phil filled his time with projects (and more projects) often with grandchildren in tow. In the summer, he loved boating excursions and walking South Cape beach to share stories with his beach-going friends. On Marco Island, he and Marge explored the canals in their boat and enjoyed dinners out with friends. Phil never found a person for which he didn’t want to chat or a dog he could resist giving a pat.
No problem was ever too big. Nothing he couldn’t solve. If you needed help, there was never a question of where to turn. We, his family, are very grateful to have had so many wonderful years with him and have become all the better for it. In memory of Phil, please offer a random act of kindness to someone unsuspecting. If you wish to make a donation, in lieu of flowers, please contribute to St. Jude Children’s Hospital (www.stjude.org).
A memorial gathering to celebrate Phil’s life will be held at Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, 74 Algonquin Ave, Mashpee, on October 8th at 3:00, followed by a memorial service at 3:30.