Hartford, Conn. (WTNH) - News personalities past and present are mourning the passing of Dr. Mel, including other meteorologists from around the state.
Meteorologists from channel 3 to 30 to 61 all feel the loss. Even though he wasn't part of their news family he was respected, and even influential for some of their careers.
Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan met Dr. Mel when he was in fourth grade.
"He couldn't have been any more happy to talk to me about weather and he said why don't you and your mom come in this week and check out the studio and you can watch a newscast," Hanrahan said. "This was 20 years ago we went in to New Haven and watched him put together the forecast."
He was a role model, a teacher, and an inspiration for meteorologists across New England and throughout the country.
"I do remember when he was in Mass. for his illness," said Harvey Leonard, WCVB Chief Meteorologist, "how courageous he was, probably the most courageous person I have ever met. He was so optimistic. He was taking experimental treatments and he battled for a long time."
Dr. Mel, who was diagnosed with cancer, fought and beat the odds, former News 8 anchor Diane Smith watched him fight.
"He was given 33 months to live, and when he hit the 34th month he held a gigantic party at his house," Smith said.
He survived for years, every day working through the pain.
"I think now about all the times he must have been in terrible pain, and he would never let on," said Smith, "he wouldn't go home, he wouldn't give up, he just always plowed through."
Whether he worked through the pain of cancer or a tornado that knocked out power to the station Dr. Mel loved to work.
"Mel had a flash light and he was reading his forecast with a flash light," Smith said laughing, "because Mel felt that people needed to know if they were in danger and there was no way he was giving up because a tornado had struck."
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