In Memory of




Obituary for Philip Onni Jarvinen

Philip Onni Jarvinen, 89, died peacefully Thursday, September 7, 2023, at his residence.

He was born June 7, 1934, in Brockton, Massachusetts, son of the late Onni and Norma Jarvinen. Left behind to mourn his loss and celebrate his life are Claire, his college sweetheart and beloved wife of 66 years, and their four children, Michael, Denis, Kathleen and Christopher. Also left behind are his three loving grandchildren Austin, Alexander and Michael (Mikie), his daughter-in-law Michele and her son Jackson, and his son-in-law, Felipe Klautau.

Philip graduated from Rockland High School in 1951 and went on to earn a BS in Engineering from Brown University (1955), a MS in Aeronautical Engineering from MIT (1957) and an MS in Physics from Northeastern University (1967). His love of engineering and flight began early in life as evidenced by his securing his solo pilot’s license when he was just 16 years old. This love translated into a lifetime career in the aeronautics and aerospace industry with stops at Boeing, Sanders Associates, and for the final 26 years of his formal career, a researcher with MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory.

His career included numerous awards and honors including a medal of Excellence in Math and Science from Rensselaer Poly Tech, a graduate fellowship from the National Science Foundation, and an innovative research grant from MIT. He was an active participant in multiple professional organizations including serving as the Director, Program Chair, Secretary, and eventually Chairman of the New England Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Those who knew him well knew that he was constantly on the lookout for innovative solutions to problems that ranged from complex aeronautical issues to more common everyday challenges. As an inventor, he is sole holder of 15 United States patents. These patents cover topics including improving the safety of jet airplanes, enhancing the effectiveness of cryoprobes used in surgery, the detection of water on heavenly objects and the childproofing of electronic switches (with his daughter Kathleen as a co-inventor). His enthusiasm for advancing research is reflected in his over 70 professional articles and the countless presentations delivered in his lifetime. He was especially proud of his work in solar energy and designing the first photovoltaic demonstration site at Natural Bridges National Monument, of being a flight director at multiple test ranges, being invited to design solar energy arrays for the White House and for graduating from the USAF WPAFB Flight Safety and Survival School.

His family remembers him a man of intense focus and surprising humor, especially around his grandchildren. He demonstrated a commitment to excellence and modeled that trait for his children. As a husband and a father, his efforts provided a support framework that allowed his family to branch out and grow, always knowing there was a safety net if things went wrong. He seldom talked of his own accomplishments, instead, he took considerable pride in the accomplishments of his wife and children, especially his wife’s return to school to earn a law degree. Finally, he passed along his love of travel to his children. The two cross-country driving trips he planned that pulled his young family and a trailer across the United States and Canada engendered a love of travel and campfires that remains with them to this day.

All services will be private at the request of the family. The DAVIS FUNERAL HOME, One Lock St., Nashua has been placed in charge of arrangements. An online guest book is available at, (603-883-3401) “ONE MEMORY LIGHTS ANOTHER”.