Doctor killed in Red Deer attack remembered for compassion, humour at vigil

A crowd gathered at City Hall Park in Red Deer on Friday evening, joining similar vigils in Edmonton and Calgary to commemorate the life of Dr. Walter Reynolds.

The 45-year-old father of two young girls died Monday after he was attacked in an examination room in a Red Deer walk-in clinic.

Despite a 200-person limit planned for the Red Deer vigil, a large crowd gathered outside city hall to celebrate the life of the well-loved doctor. Masks were commonplace and many wore white, members of the medical community come to remember their fallen colleague.

Others wore blue and green ribbons to honour the 45-year-old while candles lined the steps of city hall.

During the memorial, friends, colleagues and other speakers told of a man full of humour and compassion.

Alejandra Rojas, a longtime patient, shared her first memory of meeting Reynolds as a new immigrant who couldn’t speak English. She came into his clinic with a note asking in English if he could be her family doctor.

He answered “Si,” she said, and became a source of continual support for Rojas. As a South African immigrant, she said Reynolds understood what it meant to leave a home behind for Canada.

“We lost a man that was a good father, good friend, good colleague, and good human being,” Rojas said.

A large crowd gathered in front of Red Deer’s city hall on Friday to commemorate the life of Dr. Walter Reynolds. Organizers say over 1,600 memorial ribbons were given out. (Craig Ryan/CBC)

“Walter lived life to the fullest and his zest for life was contagious,” sister-in-law Jonine Mostert told the crowd.

Reynolds’s wife, Anelia Reynolds, and two daughters were in attendance at the vigil. Mostert thanked the community on behalf of the family for the outpouring of support they’d received in the last days.

“It would be impossible to name every person, company and group who have come forwards in support of our family,” she said.

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer said the community has been shocked and in “overwhelming grief.”

She pleaded with the crowd to continue their support for Reynolds’s family even as time wore on.

After the speeches and a minute of silence, “Shine a Light” by Reynolds’s favourite musician, Bryan Adams, was played as the crowd held up phones and lit candles in remembrance.

Reynolds’s patient, 54-year-old Deng Mabiour, is charged with first-degree murder. He was arrested at the scene and remains in custody after making his first court appearance in Red Deer Wednesday.

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