Mel Smith – A Man Who Will Be Missed

EDITOR’S NOTE: Melane Leslie “Mel” Smith, 58, a long-time member of Mentor Discover Inspire, a teammate within Catapult, within the division Head Smashed In and the region Continental passed away November 5, 2023, and will be missed.

Colin Morrison
Guest Contributor

Mel and I did the Sterling Men’s Weekend together in November 1995. Since then we developed a friendship that grew over time. From division meetings in Vancouver to Rhinos and other training over the years. 

We met up again when I moved to Calgary in 2018. He invited me to join him on the MDI team he was on at the time. He and I then became closer and really started to bond. We would  talk often and no call was less than an hour.

Mel was like my brother, but he was like that for every man. His enthusiasm for men’s work was huge. He cared about every man. I realize now that my caring for men and  being on team and taking this seriously was heavily influenced by how Mel was.

I really am going to miss our calls.

He was what friendship is to me. He cared, helped, and was honest with me.

What more can a man ask?”

A Word From Lori Smith in Late October

Hi everyone, This is Mel’s wife Lori.  I will try and summarize what has happened as best I can.

Mel started to have a cough just after Thanksgiving (October 9, 2023), so he went to the doctor, and had tests and a follow up. After the follow up he went for a CT scan which showed he had a large tumor and was admitted to the hospital last Monday.

On Friday he was diagnosed with Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer. It is an extremely rare, aggressive, and incurable cancer that has encapaulated his windpipe.

He was able to spend time at home on Friday and Saturday with family, but Sunday morning he took a turn for the worse and was unable to breathe and needed to be intubated. He is currently in ICU on life support.  Mel is aware of what is happening around him and the severity of his condition but he is in a drug induced. Unfortunately the cancer is too aggresive and has progressed too fast and too far for any treatment options. The cancer has progressed at an alarmingly fast rate and continues to grow. He is being taken care by an amazing team of doctors, nurses and medical staff.

Currently the doctors are focused on keeping Mel as comfortable as possible for the next few days. Mel has been appreciating visits from friends and family so please feel free to reach out if you want to come see him. Otherwise, send a voice memo and we will do our best to play it for him…


Mel Smith passed away peacefully at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary on Sunday, November 5, 2023, at the age of 58. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife Lori, his dad Neil and step-son Cole (Melissa). Mel is also survived by his numerous aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as his extended family-in-law. He was predeceased by his mom Leona and father-in-law Jim.

Mel was born in Auckland, New Zealand on January 5, 1965. He was the first baby boy born in the Waitakeri Hospital. Growing up he loved body surfing and swimming in the ocean where his first swimming lesson was at 6 months old with his dad.

He started school in New Zealand and moved to Canada when he was 12 years old, where he finished his schooling at Chestermere High School in Alberta. He then went to Mount Royal College to complete his education. In 1986, Mel and his mom received their Canadian Citizenship together.

They then returned to the country they were missing, New Zealand. Mel lived there for 4 years before moving back to Canada where he settled in Vancouver for over 20 years. In 2011, while in Maui he fatefully met his wife Lori and in 2012 he moved to Calgary to begin their life together. Mel loved his sports, racing, and his favorite teams; the New Zealand All Blacks and the Calgary Stampeders. He loved to travel, including his yearly trip to Mexico with family and friends. Mel made friends wherever he went and was loved by all.

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