A farewell ride (w/video)

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A motorcyclist pulling a clear vessel that held the casket of Phillip Medellin shut down Rio Grande Street, Main Street and U.S. 87 North on Saturday as it made its way to Memory Gardens Cemetery.

Riding just behind were two rows of motorcycles that extended for several miles.

Medellin, a 39-year-old Victoria man was killed in a motorcycle wreck early Monday morning just north of Woodsboro.

Hundreds of bikers attended the funeral of Medellin, who was a member of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, an outlaw motorcycle club. Several chapters of the club, as well as chapters of other motorcycle clubs, were present at the funeral to honor Medellin.


ABOVE: The funeral procession for Phillip Medellin follows his casket. The procession extended for miles following the casket and included at least 600 bikes from a handful of motorcycle clubs.

ABOVE: The funeral procession for Phillip Medellin follows his casket. The procession extended for miles following the casket and included at least 600 bikes from a handful of motorcycle clubs.   Olivia Vanni for The Victoria Advocate

The sheer number of people attending the funeral service was a sight to see, as many attendees stood out at Memory Gardens Cemetery in triple-digit heat to pay respect to Medellin and to support his family. Bottles of cold water were handed out by members of the clubs during the ceremony to help keep attendees hydrated.

"This is unprecedented - you don't have funerals like this every day," said Terry Loving, a funeral director at Grace Funeral Home.

Medellin's mother, JoAnn Mesa, and his daughter, Mia Medellin, said they did not anticipate so many would attend the funeral but appreciated the outpouring of support shown by the bikers.

"It's overwhelming, but I love them all. They've been very supportive," Mesa said.

Mia Medellin, 18, described her father as playful and happy. He was someone who loved to watch cartoons and loved children, she said.

"He was always smiling and never had a frown on his face. And whatever he did, he did it to the max," Mia Medellin said.

Medellin was also a gentleman, said co-worker Debbie Perales. Medellin worked at Memory Gardens Cemetery, while Perales is the family services counselor at Grace Memorial Chapel at Memory Gardens.

"He was just the most polite man, and he was so helpful. He was always ready to help anyone," Perales said.

Dana Moore, also an employee of Grace Funeral Home and co-worker to Medellin, said Medellin could be a prankster. He joked about finding snakes in the cemetery. But he knew when to be serious, Moore said.

"He was a true gentleman. He took care of the whole cemetery and did a very good job doing so," Moore said.

Gus Villarreal, of Seadrift, said he knew Medellin for several years and said Medellin had a "golden heart." Wearing a black shirt with a picture of Medellin on it, Villarreal laughed as he recalled the specific way Medellin ate shrimp.

"He'd sit there and slowly take off the tails, and then he'd line up the tails," Villarreal, 65, said. "Only God knows why (that) happened to him, but he was a wonderful person. He truly was."

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