JEREMY Earnshaw had been shopping for an engagement ring and was planning to propose to his girlfriend, a memorial service for the missing Alaskan man heard yesterday.
About 300 mourners, including his father Darryl and girlfriend Christina Cupitt, attended the service for the 23-year-old who friends said led "an inspirational life".
Miss Cupitt, who was with Mr Earnshaw when he was swept from rocks south of Lake Macquarie last week, told the service her boyfriend was "argumentative, opinionated and liked driving fast on Saturdays".
"Hearing what everyone said about him I am the luckiest to have been that close to him and spent so much time with him," Miss Cupitt said.
The service heard about Mr Earnshaw's gentle nature, his love of music, comic books, wine and black beer.
"I am so honoured and blessed to be able to carry these things with me," Miss Cupitt said.
Darryl Earnshaw travelled to Newcastle at the weekend with his friend and pastor Jack Benson, and said his son had been planning to propose to Miss Cupitt.
"He was very much in love with Christina and used to talk about her all the time," Mr Earnshaw said.
He said Jeremy was a very affectionate son, who would always kiss him when he said goodbye.
"I was determined that when Jeremy was born that I was going to hug him and kiss him every day of his life.
"He was very secure in his relationship with me.
"Hug your kids every chance you get. Kiss them every chance you get," he told mourners at the service.
Friends from Youth with a Mission Newcastle, where Mr Earnshaw worked as a mentor for young people at city skate parks, wore lime green armbands referring to Philippians, chapter 1, verse 21, a bible verse which Jeremy had tattooed on his chest.
"To live is Christ and to die is gain," was Mr Earnshaw's motto, and friends wrote the words on skateboard decks set up at the front of the Christian City Church Victory at Charlestown.
Members of the SES and police, who have helped search for Mr Earnshaw since he disappeared, also attended the service.