James Foley was a compassionate journalist who tried to see the good in people, friends said at a memorial for the man beheaded by Islamic State group extremists.
Hundreds of people yesterday filled Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Rochester, New Hampshire, during a Mass to celebrate his life on what would have been his 41st birthday.
Afterwards, friends and family paid poignant tribute to Mr Foley.
“There seemed to be two absolutes in Jim’s life – his faith and his family - both of which gave him an incredible foundation,” said long-time friend Jeremy Osgood.
“It was a wealth of strength and courage for Jim in his time of need.”
Mr Osgood became friends with Ms Foley while growing up in Wolfeboro, in New Hampshire’s lakes region.
Mr Foley was a thoughtful student, a “smiling, wide-eyed boy” and good athlete who excelled in football, Mr Osgood said.
Mr Foley was also a student of human nature who had a knack for reading people and could blend into any group or situation.
“The wonderful thing about Jim is he used the ability to build up people and not tear them down,” Mr Osgood said.
“Whether you knew him for 30 years or 30 minutes you would consider him a friend.”
Mr Foley was abducted in Syria in November 2012 and had not been heard from since until a video showing his killing was posted on the Internet in August.
Members of the Islamic State militant group said they killed him and other foreigners because of US intervention in the conflict in Iraq and Syria.
Since his death, his family has created the James W Foley Legacy Fund to support reporters in conflict zones and the families of American hostages as well as promote a global conversation about how governments can handle hostage crises.