A family is preparing a memorial service for the U.S. National Whitewater Center employee who was rescued Wednesday from the Catawba River.
Patrick Halstead, 38, died in the hospital Friday.
He nearly drowned Wednesday after dropping his keys in the Catawba River.
"To have all of that end so tragically is very said," said the Rev. Jeff Walling, senior minister of Providence Road Church of Christ. He was also Halstead's pastor.
Walling said dozens of people, including Halstead's parents, packed the hospital since his accident on Wednesday, praying that he would pull through.
Halstead worked at the U.S. National Whitewater Center for the past six weeks. He ran activities with canoes and kayaks along the Catawba River.
"Several have said (they) don't know if he's ever been happier or (having) any more fun doing something," Walling said.
Halstead had finished his work Wednesday when his keys fell into a shallow area of the water. He jumped in to get them, but soon disappeared. Other staff members managed to find him and pull him out of the water.
After being rushed to the hospital his pastor said he remained unresponsive.
Walling called Halstead a hard worker and a good father to his 5-year-old son.
"His daddy was 110 percent there for him," Walling said. "He's the type of father every kid wants to have and it's my prayer that he will always remember that."
Workers at the U.S. National Whitewater Center called Halstead a strong swimmer. They were still unsure Friday why he didn't come up from the water.
A private memorial for Halstead's family and friends is planned for 3 p.m. Sunday at Providence Road Church of Christ.