Dr. Elana Fric remembered as a 'beacon of light' at Windsor, Ont. funeral

Under grey skies and fresh snow, more than 300 people remembered slain physician Dr. Elana Fric at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday.

Mother of three's body found in a suitcase in Vaughan, Ont., husband charged with first-degree murder

Dr. Elana Fric-Shamji was a family doctor in Scarborough and a mother of three. (Twitter)

Under grey skies, more than 300 people remembered Dr. Elana Fric Saturday morning at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Windsor, Ont. 

The family physician practiced in Toronto but grew up in Tecumseh, just outside of Windsor. 

Many wore purple ribbons to honour victims of domestic violence as they held hands, hugged one another, and said goodbye to their friend. 

"She was a great person. She was very knowledgeable. She was articulate," said Dr. Laura Voltic, through tears.

"She was such a beacon of light in our community." 

Voltic, a physician in Windsor, lived with Fric when they went to medical school in Ottawa. 

"We enjoyed playing hockey together," she said.

"Both of us couldn't skate very well but we decided to join the med school hockey team and we had some good memories back then. (She) was snuffed out at such a young age in such a tragedy."

Fric, a respected family physician whose expertise was in medical policy, died from strangulation and blunt-force trauma. Her body was found in a suitcase in Vaughan, Ont. on Dec. 1.

Her husband, Toronto neurosurgeon Dr. Mohammed Shamji, is in custody on a charge of first-degree murder.

Close family didn't speak but Ivan Sajko, Fric's third cousin, told CBC News the family is still grieving. 

"It's a huge loss," said Sajko. "The community lost, the city lost and the country lost." ​

Many who spoke about Fric remember her as a loving mother.

Members of the Ontario Medical Association said their colleague's greatest achievement and joy were her three children. Fric's two young daughters, both composed, spoke briefly during the service, remembering their mother as loving and caring. 

Fric loved by the medical community

About 15 doctors from Toronto bussed to Windsor at 5 a.m. to attend the funeral, including Dr. David Esser, who said Fric's death resounded deeply through the medical community. 

"I knew her as a friend and colleague. She (also) lived just a couple blocks away," he said.

"We all knew her and worked with her and realized her potential as a leader in the medical community and how much she had to offer us all. We loved her." 

Doctors took a bus down from Toronto to honour their colleague. (Lisa Xing/CBC)

Esser said the OMA is looking at what the community can do to help women dealing with domestic violence.

"This certainly brought to our attention how close to home it can be," he said.