GAITHERSBURG, Md. -- Hundreds of mourners remembered Navy Yard shooting victim John "JJ" Johnson as a happy, loving man who would have hugged his killer if given a chance.
Meanwhile, Pastor David Sonnenburg called for political leadership on the gun issue.
"America needs public leaders who muster up the courage to voice difficult votes to curb gun violence", he said during Tuesday's funeral service for Johnson at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Gaithersburg, Md.
Johnson, 73, was the oldest Navy Yard shooting victim. He continued to work well past retirement because he loved his co-workers as much as his job as a career logistics analyst, his family said after the tragedy.
Johnson was remembered as an incredibly happy and loving man, devoted to his family, which includes his wife Judy, four adult daughters and 9 grandchildren.
He was renowned for giving even near strangers "bear hugs", mourners said.
"His hugs were crushes, and we loved them," said friend Jean Lea.
"John would be the kind of individual who would just put his arms around that guy," said mourner Timothy Anderson imagining a different outcome with Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis.
"No ill will. That's what they said," recalled Renee Anderson after hearing family members speak.
"Their strength is strength for us," added friend Lafaye Burris.