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

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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. 

Rob Amen. Photo courtesy of Tyler Hardy

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.

L-R: Tara Glynn, Rob Amen and Jenn (Panaro) Anderson on graduation day from New Canaan High School, 1993. Photo courtesy of Jenn Anderson

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. “We have invited family members and certainly Kerith to come and be a part of it. So I think the sharing of memories and just the conversations will point at Rob.”

Remembered as a man of deep faith by his family at a Mass of Christian Burial held in a packed St. Aloysius Church six months ago, Amen is survived by Kerith and their daughter, Adair, as well as his parents and four younger siblings.

From the program at Robert M. Amen Jr.’s funeral at St. Aloysius Church in New Canaan—March 20, 2018.

Known as “Rob” at NCHS, Amen graduated from Boston College and served in the Air Force for six years with distinction, including multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Kind, upbeat and inclusive, Amen was “one of those individuals that was friends with so many different people and was involved in so many different organizations in high school—clubs, athletics,” Panaro said.

“Obviously his family was integral to the community in so many ways,” she said. “He was one of those individuals that touched so many people in so many ways. Everybody talked about his smile, his demeanor.”

NCHS class of 1993 members can join this public Facebook group for updates on the reunion. Attending the tailgate will cost $100 per person, food and drinks included. This event page has been created specifically for those classmates interested in attending the Waveny Park Conservancy tailgate party. Those note on Facebook who want to attend can Venmo $100 to Rucci at @Josh-Rucci. To donate to Wounded Warriors Project in Robert M. Amen Jr.’s memory through Facebook click here, and through GoFundMe click here

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