‘We Will Be Celebrating Him’: NCHS ’93 To Honor Classmate at Milestone Reunion

Members of the New Canaan High School class of 1993 are making special plans for their 25th reunion later this month—a milestone tinged with loss since one popular classmate died unexpectedly in March. 

In addition to meeting up at Dunning Stadium for the Homecoming football game Sept. 29 and gathering at the Waveny Park Conservancy’s tailgate party and Gates afterwards, members of the reunion planning committee say they’re raising funds to honor Robert M. Amen Jr., a devoted father, husband and U.S. Air Force veteran who died March 15 at age 42. The committee—its members include Jenn (Panaro) Anderson, Liz (Pflug) Donahue, Sue (Allocca) Fox, Shannon (Gerne) Goetz, Gina (Buzzeo) Gorman, Jeff Mellick and Josh Rucci—is raising money to contribute in memory of Amen to the Wounded Warrior Project (GoFundMe link here and here’s a donation page on Facebook), which had been named by his family as a beneficiary organization following his passing. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society also was named. Panaro recalled that Amen and his wife, Kerith, attended the class’s 20th reunion in New Canaan five years ago, and said his absence will be felt.

“We will be celebrating him, so I think that in itself will make it special,” Panaro, a Fairfield resident and vice president of marketing and communications at Fairfield University, said of the reunion.

Top-10 Stories of 2016

Here’s a big ‘Thank you’ to our loyal readers and fabulous advertisers—you are absolutely the best—for delivering a wonderful 2016 here at the New Canaanite. In NewCanaanite.com’s second full year, traffic on the news site increased 19.8 percent, to nearly 1.3 million pageviews. The top-10 most-read articles from 2016, listed below, reflect the town’s wide-ranging interests and point to a burgeoning and popular category of news that revolves around breaches of civility. Hopefully, the list also reflects our own steadily re-examined and refined coverage plan. As we’ve said since launching Jan.

New Canaan Alumni Athletic Association/New Canaan Old Timers Association Annual Picnic

Former stars of New Canaan’s sports past will shine again as the New Canaan Alumni Athletic Association/New Canaan Old Timers Association will hold its annual picnic on Sunday, September 18 at Waveny. This year’s event will feature eight honorees: Bill Brown, Kara Devlin, Paul Devlin, Cari Hills, Mario Lopez, Jeff Mellick, Bob Schott and Andy Towers. The celebration runs from 10am to 3pm and includes a continental breakfast, beverages and lunch. The cost is $50 for adults, $20 for students. Children under 14 are admitted for free.

New Canaan Old Timers Association Spotlight: Jeff Mellick

The son of 2005 New Canaan Old Timers honoree Ed Mellick, Jeff Mellick grew up in New Canaan playing every sport the town had to offer. Basketball was an early passion for Mellick, as he started playing at the age of nine in the Saturday morning league, eventually moving onto travel basketball in elementary and middle school. The 1993 New Canaan High School grad earned four varsity letters playing for legendary Rams coach Don Usher and was a captain in his senior year. While attending Center School, Mellick played hockey at the Winter Club and also participated in Pop Warner football—a sport he continued to play at New Canaan Country School. Mellick was ultimately named captain of the freshman football team at New Canaan High School.

New Canaan Family’s ‘Beachmate’ Business Finds Success in First Summer

For locals Jeff and Beatrice Mellick, the sustained heat of late June and July has delivered more than drowsiness, discomfort and thirst. The founders of Beachmate say the “dog days” have been advantageous for the growth of their young company, now in the midst of its first summer. With predominantly online sales of their all-in-one beach system for families, the Mellicks say they are building a following through social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook and “Mommy Bloggers.” Seventy percent of sales are local to the tristate area, according to Jeff Mellick, a 1993 New Canaan High School graduate—with the balance scattered across the nation. Two of the most popular products are Beachmate itself ($98.50) and the Turkish Towels ($38), he said.