Family and friends gathered to honor a man who influenced Chattanooga through his service, Friday.

John P. Franklin, Sr. died last Thursday at the age of 96.

“It’s almost a speechless kind of a thing, but we were fortunate to have him for quite a while,” said Franklin’s nephew, Michael McFarland. “We still carry him very deeply right here.”

Throughout his lifetime, Mr. Franklin inspired and touched many lives. Former City Councilman, Yusuf Hakeem says the crowd outside his funeral was proof.

“He saw the good in everyone. He tried to do what he could to bring that out and a lot of us survived because of that.”

Some of Mr. Franklin's closest friends say he was mild mannered, determined and an effective leader.

“After my parents died he was a father figure to me and I feel like I’m part of his family and will always feel that way. He is my hero,” said Roy Keith. “What is happening here today is he's smiling down.”

 Mr. Franklin will be laid to rest over the weekend during a private burial with his family.