Obituaries

Donald G. Protopapas

February 28th, 2012
Donald G.Protopapas, age 76, of Wilmington, died unexpectedly on Monday, February 27, 2012 at the Winchester Hospital. Donald was born in Arlington, MA on May 4, 1935, he was the son of the late Simon George and Alice (Brookes) Protopapas. In his early years, Donald grew up in Arlington Heights and moved as a teenager with his family to Cape Cod where they settled in Osterville.
 
Following high school, Donald enlisted into the United States Air Force during the Korean War. He was honorably discharged in 1957 after several years of dedicated service. Donald married the love of his life, Gail A. Spiro in 1959. The couple lived in Wakefield for a few years before moving to Wilmington over forty-seven years ago where they raised their family.
 
Donald was an extremely bright and hard worker. He continued his education at Northeastern University in Boston and also at East Coast Aero Tech. He started his career as an airplane mechanic and with years of experience, he started his own business as a sales representative for gas ignitions and controls. After many years of a successful career, Donald retired.
 
Donald had many other talents and was a self taught “jack of all trades”, a handyman, talented woodworker and amateur photographer. He loved to bird watch, making many of the bird feeders seen around their home. Donald was an avid sports fan, he loved to play tennis, follow the Red Sox and watch the Patriots with his friends and neighbors.
 
Donald loved the ocean, enjoyed sailing, and traveling with family and friends.
 
Donald will be remembered as a loving and devoted family man. He treasured being a “Papa” to Samantha and Elizabeth, enjoying every moment spent with them. He was a proud Veteran and often volunteered at Local Heroes in Wilmington. Donald was a wonderful neighbor and a true friend who would help anyone in need. He will be greatly missed.
 
Donald was the beloved husband of Gail A. (Spiro) Protopapas, devoted father of Lee Anne Peters and her husband Michael of Park City, Montana, John D. Protopapas and his wife Deborah of Newbury and Charles A. Protopapas of Wilmington, loving “Papa” of Samantha and Elizabeth Protopapas, dear brother of the late Alice Chase, uncle of Patricia A. Johnson and her husband Eric of Marston Mills and Marilyn J. DeVito of Palmetto, FL, brother-in-law of Lois Robblee of Peabody, Robert Spiro and his wife Nancy of Falmouth, Philip Spiro and his wife Katherine of Martha’s Vineyard, James Spiro and his wife Susan of Rhode Island.
 
Family and friends will gather at the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington for Visiting Hours on Saturday, March 3rd from 12:00 -4:00 p.m. Immediately followed by a Funeral Service at 4:00 p.m.   The family will be receiving people at the VFW Hall, 87 Vernon St., Tewksbury on Saturday, March 3rd at 5:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations in Donald’s memory may be made to The MGH Fund, Mass General Hospital, P.O. Box 55242, Boston, MA 02205-8096.
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30 Entries in Guest Book for “Donald G. Protopapas”

  1. Judy O'Connell says:

    Dear Charlie & The Entire Protopapas Family,

    I am so very sorry for your loss. My deepest sympathy to each of you during this most difficult time in your lives. May the cherished memories of such a wonderful and special person bring some comfort to each of you now and in the future.

    Sincerely,
    Judy O’Connell

  2. Lori Talkington says:

    Protopapas Family,
    We are deeply sadden by your loss our thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this time of need and always!

    Forget Me Not
    Forget me not, for I am there
    In the beat of your heart,
    On the wing of your prayer.
    Forgive me my parting and leaving you there,
    A joyous reunion os waiting for us!
    Continue to strive toward your goal and be brave.
    Know that my love didn’t stop at the grave.
    My spirit is with you through good times and bad.
    I share all the joys and the sorrows you’ve had.
    Feel my presence within your next breath
    And realize there’s no distance in death.
    Ask for my help and I’ll answer when you call
    Reach for my hand when you stumble and fall.
    Run the last mile with a smile on you face
    My arms will be waiting when you finish the race.
    Always remember, my love is right there
    in the beat of your heart,
    On the wing of your prayer.

    We Love you Lee!

  3. Bev O'Connell-Rooney says:

    Charlie, so very sorry about the loss of your Dad. I hope that the support of your family and friends will help make this easier for you now and in the days going forward. My thoughts are with you and your family

  4. Sue Barber says:

    Charlie, I am so sorry for your loss of your Dad. My thoughts are with you, your Mom and family. I am glad I got to meet him.

  5. Jay Winchenbach says:

    Dear Gail,
    Rita and I extend our sincerest sympathy at the passing of our friend and coworker of many years. We had many good times over the years. We shared a good number of tennis matches but we won’t discuss the results.
    Once again,our sympathy to you and your family.
    Jay

  6. Janet (Kerrigan) Manchester says:

    Dear Gail, Lee, John and Charlie, As you comprehend this profound loss, hold tight to memories for comfort. As those we love and lose are together with us in our heart forever and with us in memory. Take comfort in knowing that he is still beside you and always will be. ” Hathaway acres won’t be the same with out him and neither will Steep Hill Beach for that matter…My best to you all and your family…
    Janet, Josh, Jackie and Jake

  7. Jim Kuhn says:

    Protopapas Family,
    I want to express my sincere sympathies regarding Don’s passing. Don worked with us (Key Gas Components) for many years as our sales representative until he retired. Don was not only a hard worker and a excellent salesmen, but he always conducted himself with the utmost professionalism. It was really a pleasure to travel with him to customers. It was apparent he had established solid and lasting relationships with many of the folks he called on and his customers respected his knowledge and wisdon. Don was a great guy and it was my pleasure and honor to know him.

  8. Jim Kuhn says:

    Protopapas Family,
    I want to express my sincere sympathies regarding Don’s passing. Don worked with us (Key Gas Components) for many years as our sales representative until he retired. Don was not only a hard worker and a excellent salesmen, but he always conducted himself with the utmost professionalism. It was really a pleasure to travel with him to customers. It was apparent he had established solid and lasting relationships with many of the folks he called on and his customers respected his knowledge and wisdom. Don was a great guy and it was my pleasure and honor to know him.

  9. Lewis Clark Jr says:

    Very saddened to learn of the sudden passing of our old colleague, Don. I always remember him as having a good sense of humor and a very friendly & thoughful manner. We old Fenwal folks will miss Don a lot. My deepest sympathy to his wife, Gail, the children and the grand-children.
    Lew Clark

  10. Steve Pilla says:

    Proto, so sorry for your loss. Remember the good times, and cherish every moment you had with him. You are in our thoughts and prayers. If there is anything we can do to help, please feel free to reach out.

  11. Jimbo McHugh says:

    Charlie and Family,

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your Dad. My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this difficult time.

  12. Bonnie and Ed says:

    Protopapas family,
    Our thoughts are with all of you. Don was a great man and will be deeply missed. Remember and cherish all the good times together.

  13. Nelson Clarke says:

    Don was a friend and respected colleague to those of us who worked with him during the good old days at Fenwal. Don was, to put it simply, a great guy and you have my deepest sympathy.

  14. Gail and Family says:

    Dear Gail, Joe and I are so saddened to hear of Don’s passing. We loved him so much with his sense of humor, funny stories and vivacious personality. You two were so meant for each other and have shared a beautiful life. Our hearts go out to you and your family. He will be sorely missed at our football games. Please know his love and strengh will continue to surround you and support you.

  15. Joe and Joanne says:

    Dear Gail, Joe and I are so saddened to hear of Don’s passing. We loved him so much with his sense of humor, funny stories, and vivacious personality. You two were so meant for each other and have shared a beautiful lif. Our hearts go out to you and your family. He will be sorely missed at our football games. Please know his love strengh will continue to surround you and support you.

  16. Lori Kenaston says:

    Dear Lee and Family,
    Always remember the small things and cherrish all of the memories!

    Sunday morning 9 a.m.
    I saw fire in the sky
    I felt my heart pound in my chest
    I heard an eagle cry
    Now I’m alive I can breathe the air
    Feel the wind, smell the earth in the air
    I watch an eagle rise above the trees
    Project myself into what he sees
    Hey-
    Take me away
    Come on and fly me away
    Take me up so high
    Where eagles fly
    I oftem dream I sail through the sky
    I’ve always wished I could fly
    The simple life of a bird on the wing
    Oh Lord, I could sing
    Take me away
    Come on fly me away
    Lift me up so high
    Where eagles fly
    Oh yeah-
    I’m alive, I breathe the air
    Wash the earth from my face
    I catch a glimpse of another dream
    I turn, I look but there’s no trace
    Take me away
    Come on, fly me away
    I wanna fly away
    Pick me up so high
    Where eagles fly
    Oh yeah-
    Eagles fly, oh, take me away
    Eagles fly, oh, take me away
    Come on, let’s fly away where eales fly
    Come on, fly away where eagles fly

    We Love you Lee!

  17. Greg and Brenda Ratzlaff says:

    I have this Card on my Desk that was given to us when Gregs dad passed, I read it every day and have to laugh it won’t make the hurt go away but it so true, ( “Life is Pleasant, Death is Peaceful, It’s the transisition thats troublesome”)
    We Love You and so sorry for your loss.

  18. Suzanne Curtin Hall says:

    Charlie -

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your dad! I am sending my thoughts and prayers to you and your family!

  19. Jim, Teresa & Summer says:

    May the peace which comes from the memories of love shared, comfort you now, & in the days ahead. Take comfort in knowing there is one more angel above us!! We love you and are so sorry for your loss. Please know our loving thoughts embrace you!!

  20. Jean & Doyle Scott says:

    Thinking of you during this difficult time with heartfelt condolences. We are sorry for your loss. Our thoughts & prayers are with you. We Love You!!

  21. Pamela DeCecca Fagan says:

    My deepest sympathy to the Protopapas Family. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Love you all.

  22. Miriam Stewart Taylor says:

    Do not stand at my grave and weep,
    I am not there, I do not sleep.
    I am in a thousand winds that blow,
    I am the softly falling snow.
    I am the gentle showers of rain,
    I am the fields of ripening grain.
    I am in the morning hush,
    I am in the graceful rush
    Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
    I am the starshine of the night.
    I am in the flowers that bloom,
    I am in a quiet room.
    I am in the birds that sing,
    I am in each lovely thing.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry,
    I am not there. I do not die.

  23. Yolanda Martiniello says:

    Dear Charlie we are so sorry to hear about the loss of your Dad our prayers are with you and your family with care and thoughts from all of us the Martiniello’s family:((((

  24. David & Robin Donahue says:

    We are shocked and saddened to hear of Don’s passing. We feel blessed to have shared happy and loving times with you all. God bless. With love, Donahue family

  25. Elaine Spiro says:

    Dear Gail

    My condolenses to you and your family on your loss. Don was a great, fun loving guy and will be missed by all those who knew and loved him.

    Love to you and your family — Elaine

  26. Leo Gillespie says:

    While it is truly a sad moment to honor Don’s passing, it is impossible not to think of him smiling and laughing (and usually Gail’s laugh as well!!). My very 1st memory of Don was as a child waling through the neighborhood past his house seeing his head pop in and out of sight on board a sailboat…parked in his driveway. Who is this silly man…he even looks happy…don’t talk to strangers..just keep walking….but I couldn’t. I found myself staring now. He just waved and said “Ahoy!!”, then happily went about his work. Then Gail’s giggling, smiling face climbed up the ladder to get on board. It seemed like a lot of work…and I couldn’t help but wonder if it would float ;-) ,but they were both so immensely happy, I was amazed. I was also a little grateful that my parents weren’t CRAZY enough to buy a sailboat and park it in our driveway….and at the same time I WISHED that my parents were CRAZY enough to buy a sailboat and park it in our driveway. “Mr. Proto”–you are now free to enjoy the peace and the view from where you’ll be staying now. To all your family and friends, I’ll feel sad with you today, but I’ll be happy when I remember Don’s smile and laugh and the happy, easy memories that are left behind with us.

    Leo, Sheila, Patrick and Ryan Gillespie
    Framingham MA
    Born and Raised in Hathaway Acres–Wilmington MA

  27. Rich & LaDonna Weis says:

    On behalf of the Galloping Goose M.C. nationwide and their families, I would like to extend our most sincerest sympathy to you and your family.
    From reading the entries above, it is apparent that Mr. Protopapas lived a beautiful life as a loving husband, a caring father, grandfather, and a true friend and colleague to many.
    As young men that we are, we can only hope that when our day comes to an end on this earth, that we have represented and respected a legacy such as Dons. By leaving behind the thoughts and memories simular to what I’ve read here today. May God Bless You and be with you today and forever.
    our thoughts & prayers,
    Big Rich
    Galloping Goose M.C.

  28. Marissa Volpe says:

    Dear Charlie,

    I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your dad. My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.

    Marissa

  29. Dick & Georgie Burton says:

    John & Family:

    Richard and I wish to extend our sincere sympathies to you and your family at this time. The loss of a parent is one of the most difficult tragedies to overcome, but please know that you’re in our thoughts and in our prayers.

    Richard & Georgie Burton
    Waterville Valley, NH

  30. John & Kris Gerhartz says:

    Charlie,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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