Mel passed away peacefully on Friday, November 1, 2019 surrounded by his children at St Andrews Terrace, in his 83rd year. He was predeceased by his loving wife of 51 years, Joy, his parents, Hugh and Cecelia Aucoin, brothers Pat, Gerard and Hughie and sisters Muriel, Iris and Anna. He leaves behind his children, Sherry Stockford (Tom), Karen (Bill), Tom, Ted Paprocki (Andrea), Tanya Paprocki (Geoff), his grandchildren, Lindsay, Ryan, Jordan, Samantha, Nicole, Cameron, Nash, Lily and Charlee, his great-grandchildren, Madison, Mateo, and Benjamin, and his loyal puppy of 12 years, Mindy. He also leaves behind his brothers Jim and Danny (Lynn), his sister Barb, his sister-in-law Shirley and many nieces and nephews.
Mel was born on May 14, 1937 in Glace Bay, NS, with skates on his feet and a hockey stick in his hands. At the age of 16, he hitchhiked to Preston, Ontario via Toronto, where he met Joy, the love of his life, who soon became his wife on September 20, 1958. From 1959 through to 1963 they saw Sherry, Karen and Tom come along and when they almost had an empty nest, they opened their hearts and home to Ted and Tanya in 1984. Mel worked many jobs, often 2 at a time, ensuring his family was well provided for. In 1970 he began his career in public service with the Town of Preston in the Waterworks Department. Mel went on to dedicate 32 years of his working life to the City of Cambridge, working in various departments in Public Works, ending his career in 2002 in Animal Control. Not ready to sit idle, Mel signed back on with the City of Cambridge, as crossing guard at the corner of Glamis Rd and Northview Heights Drive for another 7 years, helping children get to school safely and making more friends along the way.
Mel was happiest when surrounded by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His family and friends know him for his unwavering and unconditional love of family, his silly sense of humour, and his over-willingness to help anyone with anything! His love of family, combined with his passion for sports, saw him travelling as far as Michigan to watch his grand-children play their chosen sport. In addition, Mel coached all 5 of his children in hockey and softball.
The community knew him for his athletic prowess in hockey and baseball. #11 was both feared and sought after, on the ice and on the ball diamond. He eventually became known as "The Big Legend" by anyone who knew him for his renowned hockey abilities and achievements . Not only did he play, but he gave back to the community by coaching boys hockey, boys and girls softball and refereeing hockey. He was an honorary coach of the Annual Novice Tournament All-Star game in Preston against Walter Gretzky for many years. In 2013, following many years of unrelenting effort on his part, his Bantam Girls Softball team was inducted into the Cambridge Sports Hall of Fame for winning the Provincial Bantam Softball Championship in 1974.
Mel loved country music, singing, dancing, camping, travelling, The Penguins AND The Maple Leafs, the Blue Jays, playing cards and games, old movies, helping neighbours, Vachon Caramel Squares, Caramilk Bars and Alberta Premium with Pepsi (not Coke!)
He will be deeply missed by his family, friends and all those whose hearts and lives he touched, and they are many. Heaven has gained another angel.
Cremation has taken place and Mel will be reunited with his loving wife at a private internment held at Parklawn Cemetery in Cambridge. A Celebration of Life for The Big Legend will be held on Saturday, November 16, 2019 at the Beehive Hall in Hespeler Arena at 640 Ellis Road in Cambridge, from 2:00 - 6:00 pm, with the tribute and toast commencing at 3:00 pm. Please come out and reminisce, share stories, have a drink, play some games, in classic Melvin style, with those you know and those you don't know.
Expressions of sympathy can be made to the Alzheimer's Society. A heartfelt thank you goes out to the staff at St. Andrews Terrace for their kindness and compassion .
Please visit www.corbettfuneralhome.ca for the full obituary and updates to the internment and Celebration of Life details.