April 10, 1982 – May 3, 2003
August 8, 1962 – December 26, 2013
Norwalk loses a big soccer supporter with death of Melitsanopoulos
By John Nash
NORWALK — Dino Melitsanopoulous, one of the city’s biggest soccer supporters from the youth to the high school level, passed away suddenly on Thursday at Norwalk Hospital. He was 51.
The father of three former Norwalk High players, including his youngest, Andrew, a member of the Bears’ 2012 state championship team, Melitsanopoulous had touched the lives of many of the city’s younger soccer players over the years.
“He was a huge help with us at Norwalk High,” said Bears head coach Chris Laughton. “He was in the Fathers’ Club and he ran the concession stands along with his wife, (Martha). He went above and beyond and made sure after the game that the kids got a free meal and it wasn’t just our team, but the other team, as well.
“He was just a huge supporter of soccer in Norwalk,” added Laughton. “He was coming to games even before his boys were in high school and he was just telling me last week how excited he was for next season.”
Even as his children — Paul, Dean and Andrew — came through either the Norwalk Junior Soccer Association or with the Beachside Soccer Club, if anybody needed something, Melitsanopolous would be one of the first to offer help.
“He was just a very involved parent and I mean that in a good way,” said Kurt Jacobs, president of the NJSA. “He was always there to help us raise money. He was just a great guy to have around, always a positive influence.”
Melitsanpoulos’ Facebook page was being filled with emotional retrospectives from people whose lives he had touched since graduating from Norwalk High in 1980.
Joe Funicello, a professional soccer player from Norwalk wrote, “remember it like it was yesterday. Driving Dean Melitsanopoulos and I up to soccer practice in Wallingford. Thank you for all that you did for me during my childhood! You will not be forgotten.
“The world has lost a great man.”
“Dino – You were such a great role model while I was growing up and have taught me so much in the commercial real estate field that I use every day,” added Lou Kathrakis. “You always put family first and you would always talk about your sons any chance you would get. You will be missed.”
Calling hours will be on Sunday from 4-8 p.m at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Norwalk. Services will be held on Monday at 10 a.m., also at the church. A burial will follow at the Riverside Cemetery in Norwalk.
© 2013 The Hour Newspaper