Cover photo for Paul L. Penfield, Jr.'s Obituary
Paul L. Penfield, Jr. Profile Photo
1933 Paul 2021

Paul L. Penfield, Jr.

May 28, 1933 — June 22, 2021

Paul Livingstone Penfield, Jr., 88, of Weston, MA died June 22, 2021, of complications from prostate cancer. He was born May 28, 1933, in Detroit, MI to Paul Livingstone Penfield of Detroit and Charlotte Wentworth (Gilman) Penfield of Birmingham, MI. A longtime resident of Weston, MA and member of the First Parish Church of Weston, he was predeceased by his first wife Martha Elise (Dieterle) Penfield, his second wife Barbara Jean (Buehrig Lory) Penfield, his sister Eleanor Baldwin (Penfield) Spencer and her husband Guilford Lawson Spencer II.

One of his biggest passions was his family. He loved spending time on Lake George in New York, working with extended family to sustain a property for the many descendants of his grandfather, and more recently, a family property on the Manitou Lakes, Ontario for the descendants of his late wife Barbara. As with every other aspect of his life, no task was too big or too small for his devoted attention if it helped bring people together and make the world a better place.

Paul pursued many interests with enthusiasm and excellence throughout a long and well-lived life. He was active in many organizations, often building and maintaining their websites. In recent years, he spearheaded development of the Rail Trail in Weston and actively participated in the local care-givers' support group. He enthusiastically supported environmental organizations including The Lake George Land Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, The Weston Forest and Trail Association, and the recently created MetroWest Climate Solutions Group.

Paul's interest in music began with family singalongs around the piano, with his father playing Americana favorites such as "Sentimental Journey." In later years, he enjoyed attending the Opera and other musical performances. After his marriage to Barbara, a member of the Spectrum Singers choral group, he became an enthusiastic supporter of that organization.

Paul received a B.A. degree (cum laude) in physics from Amherst College in 1955, and a Sc.D. degree in electrical engineering from MIT in 1960. He maintained his passion for electrical engineering through a 45-year career at MIT, joining the MIT faculty in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) in 1960 and serving as Associate Head from 1974 to 1978, and Department Head from 1989 to 1999. He was the Director of the Microsystems Research Center from 1985 to 1989 and the Dugald C. Jackson Professor of Electrical Engineering from 2000 until his retirement in June 2005. Paul was an active member in many professional organizations, including being a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the International Engineering Consortium (IEC); and a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), Sigma Xi, the American Physical Society (APS), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Audio Engineering Society (AES), the National Electrical Engineering Department Heads Association, (NEEDHA), the American Fern Society and the Hardy Fern Foundation.

Paul also served on the Board of Directors of Genrad and consulted for many companies. In a diverse academic career, he designed new courses, was instrumental in the development of the MIT Stata Center, published five books and hundreds of articles. Outside of work he became a North American fern expert, and he was passionate about genealogy, meticulously building a family tree back to the 1600s.

He is survived by his companion, Catherine Liddell, of Natick, MA; his sister Martha Warren (Penfield) Brown and her husband David Tyner Brown of Virginia Beach, VA; three children: David Wesley Penfield and his wife Rebecca Emily Bronson of Westford, MA (sons Andrew Bronson Penfield and Scott Arthur Penfield), Patricia Penfield Jonas and her husband Craig Christopher Jonas of Lakewood, CO (son Paul Penfield Jonas), and Michael Baldwin Penfield of Saint Paul, MN; four step-children: John Albert Lory and his wife, Joan Elaine Jouriles of Columbia, MO (sons Joshua Nicholas Lory and Asa John Lory), Stephen Richards Lory of Arcata, CA (children Aaron Matthew Lory and Shaely Sullivan), Carol Frances (Lory) Topp of Vienna, VA (children Russell Francis Topp and Emilia Susan Topp), and Cameron Lory Faulds and her husband Andrew James Faulds of Brooklyn, NY.

His life will be celebrated in a memorial service at 1:00 PM, Saturday, August 21, 2021, at the First Parish Church, 349 Boston Post Road, Weston, MA. The service will be followed by a second line parade from the church to the Weston Rail Trail.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Paul's memory to The Lake George Land Conservancy or The Spectrum Singers.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Paul L. Penfield, Jr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

First Parish Church in Weston

349 Boston Post Rd, Weston, MA 02493

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