Palmetto, Florida- The Palmetto High School community celebrates the life of its media specialist Patrick Mullins.
Boaters found his body in the Manatee River on Tuesday. His wife reported him missing Sunday January 27th after Mullins went out on his boat for a "quick spin".
Hundreds filled the school's auditorium Thursday afternoon to join in an emotional celebration of life for the 52-year-old.
Mullins had been with the Manatee school district for 31 years, the last nines years at Palmetto High School.
Students remember the man always willing to help.
"He loved pushing us, making us better. I thank him for how much he cared for us," says Lee Blair, one of Mullins' media aides.
Mullins friends' recall a saying he lived by, "Start everyday on the right foot."
It's a saying some students say they will live by in his memory.
The school's principal Willie Clark remembers Mullins as a "family man" a "special man" a man with a love for learning and students present everyday.
"He was a firm believer in pushing literacy through out our campus," says Clark. And when it came to the school's fine arts and music programs, Clark says Mullins "always gave extra, extra time,"
The avid boater, educator, and musician is also remembered as a dedicated father and husband. Mullins' wife Jill misses her best friend.
"Pat was a good man [and] I told him that often," says Jill Mullins.
She also says her husband would share details of his day, things students would say and do and talk about those he hopes he helped. Both of Mullins son's attended the memorial along with other family members.
Elston Brown a teacher, and Mullins' classmate from Manatee High School Class of 1978, recalls their days as trumpet players in the school's marching band.
Brown remembers the last time he saw his best friend just three days before Mullins was reported missing. Brown had brought a class of eighth graders by the high school for a tour and stopped by the media center to say hello to his friend, and remind him they had to get together for dinner soon.
"Little did I know that would be the last time I saw him," says a tearful Brown. "Genuine, nice guy- a great true friend, my friend," describes Brown.
Mullins' friend of more than 35 years has this message for those who gathered to celebrate his life.
"We get so busy making a life, that we do not spend time to live. Let's not take life for granted. Spend quality time with family and friends. Pat is in heaven playing the trumpet."
Love for education runs through the Mullins family. His wife is also a media specialist at Lakewood High School. Mullins brother and niece both teach at Palmetto High School.
Follow 10 News Reporter Isabel Mascarenas on twitter @IzzyMascarenas