Coley died of cancer Friday. Friends and family gathered not only to mourn, but to celebrate Coley's numerous contributions. Hundreds came out to honor a man they say lived his life with integrity, courage and commitment.
Art Kimbrough of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce says, "You can call it a funeral. You can call it a gathering. You can call it a celebration. You can call it a lot of things, but most of all. it was an opportunity to honor a man that honored us with his life."
House Speaker Allan Bense shared with the audience on hand some of his first moments with Coley.
Rep. Allan Bense, (R) Florida, says, "I tell people that I interviewed him. He interviewed me because he wasn't sure if he wanted to work for. He wanted to make sure that my values and my ethics were consistent with his."
Bense went on to talk about the impact that his former aide had on his career.
Gene Prough, President of Chipola College, says, "They talked about how I mentored David. I didn't mentor David; he mentored me. He taught me about humility."
Chipola College President Gene Prough remembers how much Coley means to his former school.
Lavon Pettis, Coley's pastor, says, "During his life in politics, he always looked out for his alma mater. As I drive through the campus, I'm reminded of the many students that David helped."
They all say David Coley will be remembered as a leader. Even in his final hours, he was encouraging those around him.
Lavon says, "He stopped and made this statement: ‘Go forth. Go forth.’ And then I remember standing against the wall and seeing David point his finger and say, ‘charge.’ "
A special election will be held to fill the vacant District 7 House seat.