WASHINGTON - Chuck Colson was remembered by family and friends as a man committed to his family and the prisoners God compelled him to lead.
The Prison Fellowship founder passed away April 21 at age 80 after suffering a brain hemorrhage. This week, lawmakers and evangelical leaders were among thousands who filled the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., for his memorial service.
Colson's daughter, Emily, read aloud instructions he had left behind to be read at such a memorial service. Her father said he didn't want this to be a sad time because he was absolutely positive that his death wouldn't be an end, but a homecoming.
Emily Colson remembered her father as a man who put God first and his family a very close second.
She said whenever she spoke with him, he gave her absolute and full attention. Emily used to think this was something special for her, but she said she learned later that's how Colson treated everyone.
"I am thankful to be old enough to have known my father before he became a Christian and to see the change, the transformation in my father when Christ ruled in his heart," she said.
Danny Croce had a special relationship with Colson, as one of the prisoners Colson led to the Lord. Croce went on to become a chaplain and serves in the same prison where he once did time.
He said Colson, a former adviser to President Richard Nixon, never forgot those behind bars after he himself served seven months in prison following the Watergate scandal.
Croce said God took away Colson's heart of stone "and gave him a heart of flesh; actually a heart of gold."
Colson was infamous in Washington during the late 1960s and early 1970s as Nixon's "hatchet man," author of Nixon's "enemies list."
A friend led Colson to the Lord in 1973.
In his 1976 book Born Again, Colson said he cried so many tears repenting that he thought he would drown.
Close friend Rev. Timothy George said Colson never got over his surprise at discovering "Jesus Christ is a real person."
When word of Colson's salvation became public, a Boston Globe reporter wrote, "If Mr. Colson can repent of his sins, there just has to be hope for everybody."
Rev. George said Colson would shout in reply, "Yes, it's true! There's hope for everybody."
Watch the entire Chuck Colson memorial below.