Raymond man who drowned in Costa Rica kayak accident remembered for adventurous spiritBy JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent
February 13. 2018 6:35AM
RAYMOND — Michael Melanson was always on the hunt for the next adventure.
It was his love of exploration that recently took him to Costa Rica, where the 60-year-old Raymond man kayaked, rappelled down waterfalls and enjoyed other outdoor activities before his fun-filled excursion took a tragic turn.
Melanson died in an accidental drowning while kayaking with his partner, Joanne Shehan, off a beach in Montezuma.
“Kayaking in the ocean is part of who he was,” Shehan said.
A father of three, Melanson lived in Raymond for 37 years and was a fixture on Onway Lake, where he often started his mornings kayaking.
According to his obituary, he also owned The Copy Room in Manchester with business partner Jeff Church, which they operated for the past 15 years.
Shehan and Melanson had traveled to Costa Rica for a nine-day vacation. The accident happened on Feb. 2, the day before they planned to return home.
Shehan said they were kayaking when a crack in the hull caused their kayak to begin taking on water. They turned around after realizing they were kayaking toward a waterfall, but were unable to return to shore as water continued to fill the kayak.
“We weren’t even halfway there and it took on more and more water and eventually we wound up in the ocean,” she said.
Shehan tried to save him as she screamed for help.
A surfer eventually came along and helped rescue them, but Shehan said Melanson had taken in too much water.
As she mourns his death, Shehan is remembering Melanson’s adventurous spirit.
“He wanted to be outside more than inside, for sure,” she said.
While kayaking and riding in his jet boat were his favorite water sports, he also enjoyed motorcycling and snowmobiling with friends, spending time around the lake and exploring the woods.
“He definitely lived life to the fullest,” she said. “I felt like he was the caretaker of this land. He loved to have people come and share it with him.”
Shehan described Melanson as a soft-spoken, humble man who wanted to make people happy.
“He was such a family person. He would just light up when he talked about them,” she said.
Family and friends will gather today to pay their respects.
Calling hours will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Brewitt Funeral Home in Raymond.
A private funeral service will be held for the family.