Frank Spence

Obituary of Frank Spence

November 22, 1958 – Toronto, Ontario

December 4, 2021 – Calgary, Alberta


Frank Spence passed away peacefully on Saturday, December 4, 2021, surrounded by his loving family.


The center of Frank’s world was his family. He was a devoted son, a dependable brother, a supportive brother in law, and a fun uncle. He was a truly remarkable husband and irreplaceable friend to his wife of 33 years, Nanette. He was a dedicated hands-on dad, who tied skates, picked up from sleepovers at 2 a.m. and helped assemble last-minute science fair projects. Despite sleepless nights on call, he would be on the sidelines cheering for his children at countless sporting events.  He was thrilled to become Grandpa to his first grandchild, Penelope, in 2020. Frank embraced living in the West, especially his ski getaways to Fernie and “digging his acre of land” at Hills, BC, on the shores of Slocan Lake. He travelled widely with the far-flung yearly family adventures being most precious.


Frank was born and raised in Toronto, ON. The second eldest of seven children, he distinguished himself by his low-key wit and unique ability to pack the entire family into the station wagon for vacations. He attended St. Michael’s College School in Toronto, and subsequently Queen’s University in Kingston where he assembled a crew of roommates and friends who have remained important throughout his life. He completed medical school in 1982 then trained in Internal Medicine in Montreal and Toronto before moving to Calgary in 1986 to specialize in General and Interventional Cardiology. He was an Assistant Professor with the University of Calgary and practiced as an Interventional Cardiologist with Total Cardiology (1988 to 2017).


Frank was a skilled and compassionate physician, putting his patients at ease by deploying colourful metaphors and reassuring words which he took pride in learning in a multitude of languages.  He was a committed educator and contributed greatly to the technical and administrative aspects of his practice. He treasured his colleagues, sharing with them both his trademark humor and his sincere care about their wellbeing.  Outside of work, Frank enjoyed spending his time with friends, escaping to the golf course and gardening. His endless store of bad jokes, trivia, and his ability to name a tune were legendary.


Frank approached his extended battle with cancer with grace and dignity, maintaining a positive outlook while living each day to the fullest and being ever mindful of those around him.


He will be greatly missed by his wife, Nanette Alvarez, of Calgary, AB, and his children, Sean (Hilary and their daughter Penelope) Spence of Lethbridge, AB; Christopher Spence of Edmonton AB; and Emma Spence of Calgary, AB. He is predeceased by his father, Dr. Bill Spence, and survived by his mother Peg Spence (Dewan) of Toronto, ON and his siblings Paul (Kathy) Spence of Louisville, KY; Bill (Sheila) Spence of Petersfield, England; Sandra Spence of San Francisco, CA; Julie (Jeff Engel) Spence of Toronto, ON; John (Sue) Spence of Toronto, ON and Jane Spence of Kitchener, ON.


A visitation will be held at McInnis & Holloway (Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB) on Friday, December 10, 2021 6:00 p.m. Relatives and friends are invited to Prayers and Tributes at McInnis & Holloway (Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB) on Friday, December 10, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. Those attending will be asked to provide valid government identification (with name and date of birth) AND confirm one of the following: (A)Provincial vaccine record with QR code (paper or digital); OR (B)negative COVID test (within 72 hours); or (C)valid medical exemption (signed letter); OR (D)under 12 years of age.


A Private Family Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, December 11, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. Family and friends who are unable to attend in person are invited to join Dr. Spence’s Mass streamed live (see below) on the day of the service. For those who are unable to view live, a recording of the service will be posted. Condolences, memories and photos may be shared and viewed here. If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Alberta Cancer Foundation,,  to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Alberta,


In living memory of Dr. Frank Spence, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.


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