Dean P. Copetas, age 77, of Manchester, NH, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 18, 2023 after a series of complications from surgery to remove a glioblastoma/brain tumor. He was the loving husband of Karen Ann (Zorn) Copetas and dedicated father of Cari-Lynn Mackie and Jeffrey Copetas. He was also very proud of his Greek heritage, which focused on family, food and lots and lots of smiling and laughing. His hearty, distinct laugh will always be remembered by friends and loved ones.
Dean was born in Boston, Massachusetts on April 24, 1946 and moved at a young age to Clinton, MA. His late parents, Panagiotes C. and Agnes (Giacoumis) Copetas set the foundation which he always carried with him for the remainder of his life - a foundation of dedicated love and devotion to family. As he grew up in a house speaking both English and Greek, there were countless hours of fun, food, and love, spent with his cousins, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbors. He was educated in Clinton, graduating from Clinton High School with the class of 1964, where his yearbook profile described him as “never one to get excited easily” and “always seen moving at an extremely leisurely pace.” Falling asleep was never a problem at any age for him.
Upon graduation, his pace accelerated a bit - Dean enlisted in the United States Army (“to avoid being drafted and sent somewhere worse,” he would joke). He served his country during the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1968 and remained proud of that service for the remainder of his life.
Dean and Karen met in 1966 when he was driving in Clinton and stopped to offer a ride to a friend. Karen happened to be tagging along, and that moment was the beginning of their journey together, a 55-year marriage which started on September 2, 1967. After living in Sterling, MA and Clinton, MA for a few years, the couple settled in Lancaster, MA in 1975 to raise their family together, where Dean continued to carry on the foundation of love and devotion to his family. For most of the ‘80s, all would gather each Sunday afternoon for lunch at his parents house in Clinton, where the next generation of cousins, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbors would play card games, watch wrestling, play in the yard, and enjoy food cooked by Dean’s father (a Greek chef, of course). It was, as always, all about enjoying each other’s company. Serious discussion was rare. Potentially divisive topics such as politics or religion were barely discussed. Dean himself never particularly cared for such things. On the rare occasion when the adults needed to say something that the kids couldn’t hear, they’d just switch to speaking Greek, leaving the kids to only imagine the conversation.
Dean spent much of the 1970s as an auto mechanic before becoming employed for a couple of years by Orchard Hills Ice Arena in Leominster, MA. He would spend much of the ‘80s and ‘90s working in Professional Services for NEC Technologies in Boxborough, MA, but the allure of the ice arena brought him back to what he loved most: he would manage the Ice Den Arena in Hooksett, NH during most of his sixties. It was his favorite job ever.
The early ‘70s success of Bobby Orr and the Boston Bruins ignited Dean’s passion for hockey. While managing the rink in Leominster, he took up playing hockey and continued to play for another 25 years, developing friendships and memories with countless hockey buddies. He also loved helping to coach his son’s youth hockey teams and support his daughter’s very competitive figure skating. Rink rat, indeed.
Dean also enjoyed building, tinkering and fixing just about anything he could get his hands on and had a love for buying new gadgets of all kinds. Whether it was cable TV descramblers, Nintendo Wii’s, smartphones, tablets, or whatever else, he’d buy it, figure it out and master it. He never did master singing, but he also never hesitated to do it loudly anyway.
In the mid ‘90s, he would find a new passion, boating on Lake Winnipesaukee with family. He and Karen would have the good luck and tremendous fortune to be assigned a boat slip next to Phil and Mal Capasso, of Raymond, NH, who became dear, dear friends for nearly 30 years. They ate together, traveled together and had millions of laughs together.
Live, love, and laugh. That truly defined Dean. He is survived by his wife, Karen A. Copetas of Manchester, NH; his daughter, Cari-Lynn Mackie and her children, Cameron and Olivia Mackie, of North Carolina; his son, Jeffrey D. Copetas and wife Stephanie Bing of Maynard, MA and their children Nathan and Zachary Copetas; He was also a loving brother to his sister, Alexandra Gannon of Spring Hill, FL, who loved to cook Greek meals for him (of course). He is predeceased by his sister Valerie Batchelder, of Gilroy, CA. He is mourned and celebrated by numerous other relatives and friends who he laughed with over the years. Services are private and a celebration of his life will occur in the coming months.
In lieu of any flowers, donations in Dean’s name can be made to either the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs at https://www.cdceportal.va.gov/donate_at_facility/ or to the USA Hockey Foundation at https://www.usahockeyfoundation.com/donatenow