OLD ORCHARD BEACH — Melanie Papas died on Feb. 10, 2014 after a 2 1/2-year, hard-fought battle with a rare cancer.

She was born on June 19, 1966 in Dover, N.H., the only child of Athena “Tina” and John Papas.

She attended Dover schools and graduated from McIntosh College and the University of New Hampshire.

For more than 20 years she worked at Liberty Mutual Life Insurance Company as a financial analyst.

Melanie was a longtime member of The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church of Dover, N.H., and St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Biddeford/Saco.

She was preceded in death by: her mother in 2011.


She is survived by: her father; an aunt and cousins in Athens, Greece; and an uncle and cousins in the Midwest.

Her mother’s Greek cooking was loved by all. For this reason, Melanie never learned to prepare those dishes. Following Tina’s passing, some who knew her had concerns about how she and her father would survive. She stepped up to the plate and became a fine cook in her own right, treating others to Greek cookies, delicious cakes, and pomegranate or blueberry martinis, which always packed a punch.

Her abundant humor was quick and dry, sometimes missed by those who didn’t catch the momentary twinkle in her eye. She was a tremendously likable, fun and outgoing person.

Throughout her life, Melanie enjoyed traveling, repeatedly to Florida and across the U.S. She especially loved her 25 vacations by cruise ship to many destinations, including throughout the Caribbean. She also enjoyed fine dining and being part of a close community of friends in Old Orchard Beach. She was a snazzy dresser who would go out evenings and dance the night away. At her cottage in Old Orchard Beach, she and her parents entertained guests from across town and across the country. But her greatest pleasure was spending long summer days with friends basking in the sun on the beach.

She had a kind, compassionate heart that excluded no one, whether friend or stranger. Melanie could not drive past someone homeless standing beside the road without offering support. She never felt pity, only empathy. Such attributes extended to four-legged friends including her two cats, Apollo and Spartan. But again, even those less known to her received her care, including a woodchuck living under her cottage that she feared would starve without her regular delivery of baby carrots. Other people’s dogs would cross the street to come over to her, sensing her loving character. She ignored her allergy to dogs to say hello and pat them.

Melanie was an extraordinarily thoughtful, considerate and sensitive person who was happy for others’ good fortune and sad for their losses. If she learned of the passing of a friend’s beloved relative, a card was immediately in the mail. If she found out there was something meaningful to those in her life, or if they briefly mentioned something that they especially liked while shopping with her, she’d return to the store on her own; sure enough, at a time of gift-giving many months later, there it would be. For these reasons and so many more, Melanie endeared herself to everyone she knew and will be very fondly remembered by her many friends and acquaintances in New Hampshire, Maine and beyond.

In the three years following her mother’s death, her beloved father regarded her as his best friend. He was devotedly by her side during periods of great happiness and tremendous suffering.

John would like to express his sincerest gratitude to the doctors and nursing staff who so exceptionally and compassionately cared for Melanie at Maine Medical Center, including Dr. Chris Darus, his team, and the staff at the IV Therapy Center, Scarborough Campus; Dr. Tracey Weigel, her team, and the nursing staff on the fifth floor of Gibson Pavilion; the nursing staff during her extended stays in the Cardio-Thoracic Intensive Care Unit, on the Cardio-Thoracic Intermediate Care floor; and finally in Special Care Unit 2, where she passed with her father and close friends at her bedside.

Per Melanie’s wishes, there will be no formal services. Instead there will be a celebration of her life this summer in Old Orchard Beach. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Wounded Warriors Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org/donate.aspx); The Cocheco Valley Humane Society, 262 County Farm Road, Dover, NH 03820; or to the charity of one’s choice. Arrangements are by the Hobbs Funeral Home, Scarborough.