He died in a tragic fall from a boat on the Ohio River after the Fourth of July festivities.
Jerry Dowd Jr., 32, was remembered Friday in a celebration of life in the venue where he worked for years.
Hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects.
In the venue where Dowd was an exemplary employee for years, he was honored.
"As many events as he did in this room, each one of them had his special touch on it," said Scott Schenerlein, assistant food and beverage manager at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center. "And he touched so many people. People that we will never know, that he celebrated their weddings, their anniversaries. And he did it with such love and compassion, just like all of you know him."
Family and friends said they still don't comprehend what happened that night on the Ohio River.
"I wish I was there to to save you," said Jerry's brother, Charles Wallace, between sobs. "I wish we had made plans to be together that night. I wish I had thrown you a lifeline."
They say he loved animals, loved the music of Motown, and loved his family and friends.
"Smiling, kind, caring," recalled Carolyn Hancock, a family friend. "I am thankful our paths crossed."
He leaves behind a son, Jarren Norris Dowd.
A private interment will be held at the convenience of the family.