[It is with much sadness that we at GSN announce the loss of Dr. Spencer McLean, husband of Senior Reporter, Christina Frangou. This is Christina’s tribute to her husband.]
Dr. Spencer R. McLean passed away peacefully on June 24, 2013, surrounded by his family after a short but courageous battle with cancer. He is deeply missed by his soul mate and wife Christina (Frangou), his parents Roy and Charlotte, his brother Brendan and wife Kim, and the Frangou family, Panayiotis, Josephine, Nicole, Martin, Evan, Jen and Sarah. Uncle Spencer will always be adored by his nephews, Lukas and Noel, to whom he was completely devoted. No one gave better airplane rides or knew more about helicopters than Uncle Spencer.
Spencer McLean operating in Haiti in early 2013.
Spencer was raised in Fernie, British Columbia, Canada. He spent much of his childhood skiing, biking and camping with his family. These activities remained fundamental to his happiness throughout his life. As he often said, “you can take the boy out of Fernie but you can’t take Fernie out of the boy.”
Spencer moved to Calgary in 1996 to study at the University of Calgary, where he completed a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology, medical school and residency in orthopaedic surgery. Two months before the end of his residency, Spencer was diagnosed with stage IV renal cell carcinoma. Despite his illness, he wrote and excelled in his board exams for the Royal College of Surgeons. On June 13, 2013, he achieved his dream of becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Spencer was known for his kindness, wit, sense of humor, his athleticism and his devotion to family and work. This year, he gave up his vacation time to save lives in Haiti with Team Broken Earth (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/life-and-death-in-haiti-a-doctors-diary/article8711178/?page=all). He always knew the names of everyone he worked with, his patients and their families. Even at his sickest moments, Spencer took time to teach nursing students or greet with a smile those who were caring for him. He inspired every physician, nurse and staff member who came in contact with him.
Above all else, he was a devoted husband. He was married nearly three happy years to his wife Christina. For both, their marriage was their greatest accomplishment. His life, while short, was a life well lived.
The family extends a grateful thank-you to the staff of Foothills Medical Center and Unit 46, Dr. Daniel Heng and Dr. Michel Henin for the care and compassion shown to Spencer and his family during these two difficult months. A special thank-you to his mentors Dr. Geoff Seagram, Dr. Paul Duffy, Dr. Norman Schachar, Dr. Richard Buckley, Dr. Jim Powell, Dr. Robert Korley, Dr. Shannon Puloski, Dr. Ian Le and the many others who helped Spencer achieve his dreams. Thank you to his friends Dr. Prism Schneider, Dr. Paul Cantle, Dr. Gerald Cole and Dr. Jeremy LaMothe for everything along the way.
Memorial tributes in Spencer’s name may be made to Team Broken Earth (http://www.brokenearth.ca/calgary.html) or to Kidney Cancer Canada.