The Western Star couldn’t determine how long Ferdinand (Fred) Mejilla lived here, but he was known for his commitment to his children, and was remembered by patients and colleagues as a warm and loving person,
Dr. Mejilla, 50, died on March 16 after being shot at his Mejilla Family Chiropractic clinic in Burlington.
“I just couldn’t imagine that someone like Fred could have been involved in a tragedy such as that,” Gerry Byrne said Wednesday.
Byrne, the MHA for Corner Brook, and Mejilla became friends while in high school.
“It was very, very difficult not to like Fred, impossible not to embrace him,” Byrne said.
While Mejilla had been active in sports recreationally, Byrne said his real talent was in theatre.
The two performed in several high school musicals under the direction of their principal, Jed Blackmore.
He remembers how Mejilla was known for always being impeccably dressed and well groomed.
“And he had quite the dance moves,” Byrne said with a laugh.
After high school the friends went in different directions, Byrne to Dalhousie University and Mejilla to Memorial University. Eventually, Mejilla ended up at the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa.
“He was destined to become a chiropractor,” said Byrne.
He described Mejilla as brilliant and very high achieving academically, so he had no doubt his friend would excel at whatever he did.
After learning of Mejilla’s death, Byrne contacted some other high schools friends to reminisce and talk about the tragedy.
“Fred always had a zest for life and it just reinforced to us, live life now, because you can be separated from it very, very quickly and very, very tragically without any warning.”
Mejilla’s funeral took place in Mississauga on Saturday.
A GoFundMe account set up in benefit of his five children has already surpassed its $50,000 goal.
According to news reports, the Halton Regional Police Service said the suspect in Mejilla’s murder was David Williamson, 44, of Burlington, who shot himself after shooting Mejilla and later died in hospital. Williamson was a former patient, and his wife worked as a secretary at Mejilla’s clinic, police said.