A memorial service will be held on Friday night for a 45-year-old SA-born doctor killed in a Canadian clinic this week, allegedly by a patient wielding a hammer and a machete.
News outlet CP24.com reports the 54-year-old suspect from Alberta has appeared in court charged with first-degree murder in Monday’s death of Dr Walter Reynolds at a clinic in a town called Red Deer.
A friend of the family, Johan Myburgh, also a colleague of Reynolds, shared: “On a normal sunny Monday morning, August 10, life changed forever for the Reynolds family. Walter tragically lost his life serving his community as a family doctor. An unimaginable, horrific act of violence took him away from his loving family. He was attacked in his office by a patient.
“His friends, colleagues and community mourn an exceptional human being lost too soon. We all are devastated and heartbroken.
“He was a devout father to two amazing young daughters and was a loving husband. He loved to run, be healthy, and — most of all — spend time with his family.”
Myburgh has started a crowdfunding campaign for Reynolds’ wife Anelia, to pay for travel expenses for close family from SA, as well as funeral expenses, and his daughters’ education costs.
The medical fraternity in Canada paid tribute to the father of two, who had emigrated to the country with his wife in 2003.
“This is a sad and sobering time for doctors in Ontario and across Canada as we learn about the brutal killing of a fellow physician. Dr Walter Reynolds, practising in Red Deer, Alberta, was killed Monday while seeing patients in a walk-in medical clinic. Our hearts go out to Dr Reynolds’ wife and daughters and we join the many others whose thoughts and prayers are with his family, patients and colleagues,” said the 43,000-strong Ontario Medical Association.
“Doctors dedicate their lives to improving the health and wellbeing of their patients. Together with other health-care workers, they put themselves at risk every day to help others — especially now, as physicians and health-care workers about the world fight Covid-19.
“Dr Reynolds’ violent death is shocking and devastating. It reminds us of the dangers that health-care and other front-line workers face daily.
“The OMA strongly believes we all have a role to play in upholding and advocating for a safe society. We will continue to work with governments and other partners to protect physicians and all health-care workers.”
The Village Mall Clinic where Reynolds worked said in a statement: “Our friend, Dr Reynolds — better known to us as Walter or Wallie … was sharp-witted, a devoted husband, and an amazing dad for his two beautiful young daughters.
“He was passionate in life. If there was a race to run, then he was there. He ran from marathons to mud races, from Sinister Seven to Spartan challenges. He would be frequently seen jogging with his wife about the neighbourhood, or sweating it out at the gym. If there was a campsite to explore, then they were there. Always exploring. Always on an adventure. Always on the move … so full of life.
“With this same energy and dedication Walter put into life, he gave to each of his patients. From the delivery room to the hospice, he dedicated himself one hundred percent. If there was a task at work that needed to be done, he would step up to the plate. If a patient needed help, he walked the extra mile … and then some.
“How do you process the loss of a friend that always organised camping trips and entertainment for the kids; who made a telephone tag team to ensure tickets for everyone to attend the daddy-daughter dance? How do you comfort a wife whose soul mate was ripped from her? How do you replace a dad’s presence in the lives of two little girls next to the fastball field, at the swim meet, or the dance recital? We can’t. But with the grace of God … we will take one step at a time. One day at a time.”