More than 700 mourners overflowed the Anzac Hall in Featherston yesterday to farewell Glen Jones who died after a vicious beating in his own home.
The Four Square worker, 40, was attacked soon after midnight, last Friday and hours later died in Wellington Hospital of head injuries.
Five people appeared in Masterton District Court yesterday on charges of aggravated burglary related to the fatal beating.
At the funeral yesterday Mr Jones' older brother Brent Jones tearfully recounted memories of his brother, known as Jonesey, and how he had been a born battler who had survived a brain tumour at just 2 years old, despite a diagnosis that he would die before he was 5.
However, Brent Jones said "unfortunately late last Friday night evil came to visit ... and he lost his fight".
"He was a man with a heart of gold and only a little bit of mischief in his eye," he said.
"We've all learnt that life with Glen around is how life should be."
Celebrant Pam Bailey said Glen Jones' tragic death had united the community in sorrow and said that the death of someone at his age "shocks us".
"This is a travesty that should never have happened to someone so special, someone so young," Ms Bailey said.
A work colleague described Glen Jones as a kind man who was always smiling and willing to help. She also recalled his skill as a forklift operator and his knack of lighting up the work place.
"Jonesey you've made us laugh but now it's time for tears.
"We will all miss you and your uniqueness terribly and we will never forget you," she said.
A former girlfriend spoke of times spent with Glen Jones and said they shared a love of pool and nights out. Children of all ages were foremost at the funeral and joined a chorus of older voices when tributes were made and released balloons skyward after Glen Jones' body was carried from the hall.
"We miss and love you Uncle Glen," they said.
His brothers carried his brightly decorated coffin from the service, after which there was a private cremation.
A friend of Glen Jones spoke of their close bond and his deep regret that he had faced his attackers alone. "In my heart I wish I could have been with you in your hour of need," he said.