Lynchburg, VA - People all over Lynchburg gathered Saturday to remember former Lynchburg Mayor and community leader Pete Warren.
Friends and colleagues honored him at Snidow Chapel in Lynchburg College.
Warren, who was mayor of Lynchburg from 1998 to 2000, died last week from a respiratory illness at the age of 84. Before being elected to city council, Warren had a long career at Lynchburg College. He was a professor, dean, and interim chaplain.
But those who knew him best say he'll always be remembered for his contagious warmth and energy.
"I love this man," said Ed Polloway as he began his speech to a crowd of hundreds inside the chapel. Polloway knew Warren for 38 years.
The service was filled with memories. Some funny...
"That was Pete Warren. He knew every name, he knew every day, he knew every relative," said Ken West as he retold a story about Warren.
Some were inspiring...
"He created a sense of calm and reassurance, he fed the souls around him, and his example of righteousness encouraged others to follow in the path of justice," said Lynchburg Mayor Mike Gillette.
All of them were heartfelt.
"Pete Warren's influence was life changing for me," said Rex Horne in his speech.
Those who got up to share their memories of Warren said his greatest traits were his spirit, his kindness, and the way he impacted so many people.
"We cannot look at our own lives without finding Pete here and there within them," said Rex Horne.
Many say he had the ability to make every person he encountered feel special.
"What I'm going to remember most is being a great friend, and special and always supportive...and wonderful," said Polloway.
"I'll just remember the smile, the warmth, the touch. Everybody who knew Pete knew he was a hugger and nobody ever resented that...that's just the way he was," said Julius Sigler, a colleague and friend.
It was well-known that Warren was also a huge fan of the Duke Blue Devils. In honor of his memory, some of his friends said they'd go against their own teams to root for Duke in the NCAA tournament.