Yvette Dans truly earned her title as Winthrop’s No. 1 fan.
She was always there front and center at the stadiums, fields, and courts, often in Viking-inspired attire, leading the cheers for Winthrop High teams and student-athletes.
She was universally admired, but especially by the athletes wearing blue and gold. She was a high school classmate of Tony Fucillo and took particular joy when Coach Fucillo’s football teams played in back-to-back Super Bowls at Miller Field in Winthrop and then won the Super Bowl title in 2006 with an undefeated record, completing arguably the greatest football season in school history. She was at the old Boston Garden when Bill Falasca’s 1976 hockey team won the Division 1 state title with a 25-0-1 record and back at the Garden again when Peter Grimes and David Brown led their basketball teams to state titles.
Yvette Dans, who devoted much of her life to Winthrop High School student-athletes, died on Feb. 11. She was 70.
Residents came to the Caggiano-OMaley-Frazier Funeral Home this week to pay their respects to the beloved Winthrop resident.
School Committee member Gus Martucci, a standout on the 1981 Super Bowl champion WHS football team, paid his respects to Yvette at the memorial observances.
“She was Winthrop’s No. 1 cheerleader,” said Martucci, who knew Yvette for many years. “It wasn’t just football – she was at all the games. It’s sad because a lot of generations knew her. It’s a tremendous loss to our community. She’s going to be missed. She saw a lot in her life and God bless her, may she rest in peace.”
Chris Tsiotos, a true giant in basketball annals at Winthrop High, where the court is named in his honor, knew “Eevie” – as he called her – since 1971.
“She cheered for my teams and all Winthrop athletes,” said Tsiotos. “She cheered for all sports teams and never missed a game. She attended college games when Winthrop athletes played.”
Tsiotos said Yvette, an only child, and her parents came from the country of Belgium to Winthrop, when she was very young.
“Her dad passed away when she was young and her mother raised her,” said Tsiotos.
The Viking hoop legend recalled that Yvette was “a great Celtics fan and had season tickets basically in the front row underneath the basket. The Celtics players knew her by sight.”
“Eevie would also call Boston sports radio talk shows and call the North Shore shows and talk about her Winthrop athletes,” recalled Tsiotos.
WHS football coach Jon Cadigan said he appreciated Yvette’s support when he was a football player, an assistant coach, and head coach.
“She supported Winthrop sports for a long time,” said Cadigan. “She spanned a lot of coaches and saw a lot of wins. She saw a lot of great moments.”
Echoing a familiar theme among those paying tribute to Yvette this week, Cadigan noted, “I don’t think you’re ever going to see someone like her again. It’s just different now, with technology and all the different things. She was truly one of a kind.”
The Tsiotos twins, Poli and Niki, who helped the Winthrop High girls basketball team win the North sectional title and advance to the Garden, said Yvette was a welcome sight at all of their games in multiple sports.
“Eevie was at every game, always ringing her cow bell,” said Poli. “She would be the first one to tell us if they mentioned us at the School Committee meetings or in the newspapers.”
“Even when we graduated, Eevie would call me before my college games and wish me good luck,” said Niki. “She kept up on everyone’s achievements. She was like an extension of our family.”