EUREKA- Inside Sacred Heart Church the community gathered for Rev. Eric Freed's funeral a week after he was found dead on New Years Day inside St. Bernard's rectory. Over a thousand members of the community packed into the church to say goodbye to Freed.
"He was my priest, my pastor, he was a great counselor, he was a great teacher," said Anne Carlisle. "He most of all was my friend."
Carlisle volunteered with music at the Newman Center in Arcata and said she grew very close to Freed. She said it is hard for her now, but knows he is will always be in her heart. "Now I know he's praying for us which is kind of nice to have him on our team," said Carlisle.
Eureka Mayor Frank Jager, who announced Freed's death to the community, said the ceremony brought him closure in a difficult week. "It was closure, kind of putting an end to the mourning process so we can move on," Jager.
Jager said the amount of people at the service shows how many people Freed impacted. "There weren't just Catholics here today there were people from all parts of life. I think it's a real testament to him," said Jager.
For many, today was an opportunity to remember Freed in life. "I think about the things that he did that made me laugh. He was so funny and so full of life," said Regina Fosnaugh.
Fosnaugh said she felt like she was being buried with him, "I'm going to miss him a lot."
"I think of it as a wound. You can close a wound, but it still needs to heal. That's what we're going to do, we're going to be healing," said Carlisle.
Following the ceremony Eureka Police cars led Freed's hearse to St. Bernard's Cemetery where he was laid to rest.