CHARLOTTE, N.C. Friends, family, and local civic leaders gathered for the funeral of former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Dan Ramirez Wednesday. The service was held at St. Matthews Catholic Church in Ballantyne.

I will carry Dan Ramirez's influence with me every day of my life. However, his compassionate spirit will last generations, said Gov. Pat McCrory.

McCrory served as Charlotte s mayor while Ramirez was on the Board of County Commissioners. Ramirez was the first Latino elected to office in Mecklenburg in 2002.

Being a political trailblazer wasn't important to him, said McCrory.

Ramirez, a Republican, was known for a calm demeanor and level-headedness, even by those on the other side of the political aisle.

He was someone who listened. He was a human first, and politician second, said Jennifer Roberts, Democrat, who served alongside Ramirez on county commission.

Ramirez struggled with ALS in recent years, and died Sunday at the age of 67.

After initial diagnosis, he joined a support group where he met Patsy Horn.

We just laughed together, and talked about troubles that we had, you know, with the disease, said Horn.

During Wednesday s service, Ramirez s daughter acknowledged his struggle with the disease.

His campaign to raise awareness for ALS and raise money for research to find a cure was his way of overcoming this terrible obstacle, said his daughter Claudia.

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