F. Patrick Gregory will be remembered for his kindness and gentle spirit, his passion and generosity. He was a man of uncommon decency.

Those were a few of the words used to describe Mr. Gregory as a crowd of nearly 1,000 people filled the West Tisbury Agricultural Hall to overflowing on Wednesday afternoon.

“His even-handed guidance became my edification,” said Timothy Gregory, Pat Gregory’s son. “My dad was a whistler, an optimist, a believer in the human spirit.”

Community stayed after the service for a potluck and to share stories of Mr. Gregory. — Mark Lovewell

Mr. Gregory, 69, was fatally shot on a remote hiking trail in northern California on May 16. The news stunned the Island, where he was well known as a civic leader, businessman and former teacher. An outpouring of grief was felt across the Vineyard in the days following the tragedy, in stores and coffee shops, public meetings and in the pages of the Gazette.

A year-round resident of West Tisbury, Mr. Gregory owned the computer and art supplies store Educomp in Vineyard Haven and had taught mathematics at the West Tisbury School. He had been the West Tisbury town moderator for 23 years, and was an avid golfer, soccer coach and referee. He and his wife Dorothy had raised two children, Timothy Gregory and Shannon Gregory Carbon, and he was a beloved grandfather.

On a day filled with gray skies and misting rain, the Island community crowded into the Agricultural Hall for the service and celebration of his life. Many people carried covered dishes for the potluck that followed. The event was scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. but was delayed due to the size of the crowd entering the hall from every direction.

White azalea plants flanked the West Tisbury School podium, a centerpiece usually seen at the annual town meetings which Mr. Gregory presided over. A trio played Irish music as the crowd took their seats or found places to stand in the hall. And then the room fell silent as members of the Gregory family entered the room together, walking in hand-in-hand. The Rev. Cathlin Baker of the West Tisbury Congregational Church and Father Michael R. Nagle of Our Lady Star of the Sea in Oak Bluffs presided over the service.

“Our sadness is enormous for the nature of his death is difficult to contemplate,” Reverend Baker said. “Throughout this time together we further the process of healing which requires strength, courage and wisdom. The strength to endure the pain of loss, the courage to speak openly to loss and the wisdom to give thanks, thanks for a life that touched and filled our own.

Shannon Gregory Carbon urged everyone to act with uncommon decency. — Mark Lovewell

“We are stunned and speechless and just finding the voice for our grief,” she continued. “Let us relish the community love and support we have together.”

Friends and loved ones told stories of a life lived fully and enthusiastically. Molly Conole, a staff member at Educomp, sang an Irish blessing and accompanied herself on the flute. The service included some of Mr. Gregory’s favorite passages, poems by Robert Burns and Wendell Berry.

West Tisbury selectman Cynthia Mitchell remembered Mr. Gregory as a fine public servant and a true friend. She recognized the struggle the community has had in reconciling “the vibrant, life enhancing soul they knew with the sudden end to his life.”

Ms. Mitchell recalled his even-tempered style of presiding over town meetings and letting all sides have their say. On Monday, the state house of representatives held a moment of silence in tribute to Mr. Gregory.

“One didn’t really share the stage with Pat, he was a presence wherever he was,” Ms. Mitchell said. “But at town meeting he radiated, bounding up to the podium in his boyish way, this very podium, by the way. It was his time to shine and shine he did for 23 years lending his considerable skills, grace and humor.” Longtime friend Joe Arceri remembered Mr. Gregory’s love of adventure and humor.

Tim Gregory called his father a moral lighthouse. — Mark Lovewell

“I was Pat’s college roommate, he always loved to introduce me that way,” he said. “I think it was a joke to him because it was so bizarre to introduce a 60 year old man as his college roommate.”

“Wherever he went, whoever he met, he brought joy and a zest for life, a sense of optimism that was infectious,” said Mr. Arceri. “It’s impossible for me to think about a world without Pat. No act of random violence will remove his legacy and acts of kindness.”

He also noted Mr. Gregory’s love for his wife Dorothy.

“They were mates for life since they were 20 years old,” Mr. Arceri said. “She was his bedrock, his stable center.”

Son in law and business partner Dan Carbon spoke of Mr. Gregory’s leadership at Educomp and in the community.

Family urged everyone to write their tributes down on paper. — Mark Lovewell

“We all looked to Pat for answers and guidance, that was his natural calling,” Mr. Carbon said. “He was truly happy because he was helping provide those answers, and not only to us but to his community and just about anyone else who sought him out.”

“At a time when we need his guidance most, I’m trying to look to his actions to find answers,” he added. “Help those you can, listen with compassion and trust in the goodness of others.”

Tim Gregory called his father his best friend and “moral lighthouse.” He remembered as a young boy when passing by his father in the halls of the West Tisbury School his dad would flash him a quick smile and a wink.

“It made me feel as special as a boy could,” he said. There were always moments of levity growing up, he added.

“My father was not a gracious eater,” he said, smiling. “His shirts were graveyards for marinara and A1 sauce. Unfortunately, I have inherited this gene directly.”

Remembering a man known for his kindness. — Mark Lovewell

Tim thanked the community for their support. “It’s hard to know the impact a person has on their community,” he said. “We each see a rainbow from a different edge of the prism. Judging from the words and prayers of the Island community, I think I may have underestimated Dad’s impact. We thank you for your love. It has warmed us up as we stumble through the cold corridor of the unanswerable.”

Shannon Gregory Carbon, Mr. Gregory’s daughter, echoed her brother’s praise for the community. She noted a letter sent to her mother Dorothy that described Mr. Gregory as a person with “uncommon decency.”

“I am thankful because I was constantly reminded of Dad’s priorities through his actions,” she said. “Here’s what came first for Dad: his family, his community, his work, play and the importance of compromise.”

Mrs. Carbon said a college friend of Mr. Gregory’s recently wrote that “Pat was aware of life’s sorrows, he simply refused to be impressed.” She recognized there may be anger in the community and said she respected that emotion, but was looking to find a higher meaning in the loss.

“Dad was not a man of vengeance,” she said. “I believe we must learn from his death. Look around at your loved ones. Make sure we are treating them with uncommon decency.”

On Thursday morning Mr. Gregory was interred at the Lambert’s Cove Cemetery in a small private ceremony.