Felix Pilla

Obituary of Felix Mario Pilla

Felix Mario Pilla, 90, of Marana, Arizona passed away peacefully in the comfort of his home, surrounded by family and his beloved caretaker Sabah on April 11, 2023.

Felix was predeceased by his wife Sally Irene (Bixler) of 69 years.

Felix is survived by three children, Mark (Nancy) Pilla, Beth (Brent) Lewis and Michael (Debra) Pilla. He was predeceased by his son, Matthew Pilla. Felix and Sally have five loving grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother Michael Pilla and Jeanette Sofia, as well as nieces, nephews and extended family.

Felix was a loving husband, father, grandfather and a friend to everyone. He was known for his spirit of generosity and great sense of humor.

He was born September 22, 1932, the son of Domenick and Carmela (DiPalma) Pilla in Philadelphia, PA.

His education included a Diploma of Professional Nursing from the Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing (1956); a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, LaSalle College, Philadelphia (1959); United States United Health Service training grantee (1961); and a Master of Science in Hospital Administration, Columbia University, New York (1961).

Felix's career included various progressively responsible positions in the healthcare field, including: Associate Administrator, Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital, New York City; President and CEO, Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch, New Jersey (1970-1980); President and CEO, University of Arizona Medical Center, Tucson, Arizona (1980-1982); President and CEO, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Newton Lower Falls, Massachusetts (1982-1985); President and CEO, Abington Memorial Hospital, Abington, Pennsylvania (1985-1998). In retirement he served on the Board of Governors (Emeritus) for Abington Hospital. During his tenure at AMH he also began the "Pilla Heart Center" and established an additional campus for the hospital in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania.

His memberships included: Fellow, American College Hospital Administrators; American Public Health Association; American Hospital Association (lifetime member House of Delegates governing metropolitan hospitals). Chairman New Jersey Hospital Association (1979-1980); Trustee, Hospital Association of Pennsylvania (1988-1994); Board of Directors, Delaware Valley Hospital Council (1986-1994) and chairman of that board for Montgomery County (1990-1992).

Felix was listed as a noteworthy hospital administrator by Marquis Who's Who. He also participated in civic organizations including The Lions Club.

Felix was an avid Philadelphia and University of Arizona sports fan. In retirement he served as a second base groundskeeper for the Seattle Mariners baseball team for several seasons. He enjoyed taking the ferry from his Bainbridge Island home in Washington, and then walking to the stadium. He so enjoyed meals with the players as well has having his own team uniform!

Felix and Sally traveled extensively throughout the continent of Europe and Scandinavia and loved those adventures. Felix loved reading and walking. They particularly enjoyed living on the Jersey shore, the Hawaiian Islands, the Puget Sound, and spending their final years in the beautiful Sonoran Desert outside of Tucson.

At his request, the family will celebrate his life privately. In lieu of flowers it is suggested that donations be made in memory of Felix Pilla, Abington Health Foundation/Pilla Heart Center, 1200 Old York Rd., Abington, PA 19001 or online at:


Felix's motto was, "constancy of purpose", and he truly lived by that credo!

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Felix Pilla, please visit Tribute Store
A Memorial Tree was planted for Felix
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Desert Sunset Funeral Home
Share Your Memory of