CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The life of Gary Lane, who tragically died after falling off a boat in Chesterfield, was celebrated by friends and family on Tuesday.
In the midst of sorrow come memories and laughter.
"He had a big heart for anyone and everyone and he was everyone's best friend," Angel Jackson, the granddaughter of Gary Jackson, said.
The family and friends of Gary gathered around to remember his legacy.
"I was daddy's girl," Sherrie Lane Davis, Gary's daughter, said.
For 57 years, he loved his wife Dolores. The two were 19 when they got married.
"We didn't even own a car, his friend loaned us his Ford Convertible," Dolores said.
Early on in their marriage, Dolores said she learned of Gary's spontaneous spirit.
"You didn't plan things, pretty much. You had to go in the spur of the moment," Dolores said.
In the early days, Gary worked in construction before he got a job with the Hopewell Fire Department. After he was settled with his job, the two decided it was time to grow a family of their own.
"Well, we have two of our own and then we have bunches of adopted ones," Dolores laughed. "Not really, but we've had a lot of kids coming and going from our house."
The Lane family grew famous in their community for helping adults with developmental disabilities. They supported the community through a ministry called Super Kids. Mary Jackson, Gary's granddaughter, said he would sometimes pick up people on the side of the road.
"Sometimes it worried me, but he was a strong man and he could take care of himself," Mary said.
"Gary's natural tendency to help people and loved people just blossomed around the SuperKids, Debra Ferguson, the president of SuperKids ministry said.
Through the way that he lived his life, his children adopted his love of helping others.
"At any given time, you can ask my husband, you have this person or that person living with us. We're trying to take care of people like he did," Sherrie Lane Davis, Gary's daughter, said.
Along with having a love of helping people, Gary had a special passion for the outdoors and hunting and fishing.
"He fished a lot and I do remember him taking us fishing when I was little," Sherrie said.
For the family, the loss of Gary Lane as a husband, a father, a grandfather and an uncle is a hurt that can’t be healed. For the community and humanity, it’s the loss of a champion who put others ahead of himself.