Raleigh, N.C. — Hundreds packed Raleigh's Pullen Memorial Baptist Church Saturday to mourn Jamie Kirk Hahn, a political strategist and "helper" who died after being stabbed at her north Raleigh home on Monday.
Hahn, 29, a "rising star" well known in Raleigh for her work on high-profile campaigns, died Wednesday morning at WakeMed Hospital.
"We do not want to be here," Pullen Memorial associate pastor Cathy Tamsberg said. "Every service of remembrance like this is a mixture of joy and grief. We're here to give thanks for Jamie, who we loved dearly."
Fighting back tears, Nation Hahn, Jamie's husband, thanked those in attendance for the support they have shown Jamie's family in the days since her death.
"Thank you to the family, the friends and the community who helped us this week," he said. "Jamie was the strong one in our family. She still is.I could not have faced this unspeakable tragedy without you."
Raleigh police say Jonathan Wayne Broyhill, a longtime friend of Hahn and her husband, stabbed the couple at their 1705 Tealwood Place home. Nation Hahn, 27, was treated at WakeMed and released.
Broyhill, 31, was recovering at WakeMed Saturday from injuries that police say were self-inflicted. He is charged with murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.
Police haven't said what might have led to the stabbings.
Nation Hahn called his wife a "helper," recalling many examples of how Jamie Hahn would try to improve life for those around her.
"With Jamie, you didn't go near an animal shelter, or you would come home with a new puppy or kitten," he joked. "I was afraid that if one of us hit the lottery we would have 75 animals and 15 kids."
Nation Hahn and others who spoke Saturday also recalled Jamie Hahn's "infectious laugh."
"She had the greatest laugh in the world," Nation Hahn said. "It was loud and it was unrestrained. She had a fake laugh and a real laugh, and when you got the real laugh you felt pretty special."
Ken Lewis, who worked with Hahn during his campaign for the United States Senate in 2010, spoke glowingly about Hahn's work in politics, calling her a "bridge builder."
"She wanted justice for all, opportunity for all and fairness for all," Lewis said. "She understood that despite all the progress in North Carolina and the United States, that basic justice and fundamental fairness still elude many among us. She lived her beliefs."
Nation Hahn commented on Jamie's political work as well, but said that it wasn't what she did in that field that made her who she was.
"She was more than a Democrat or a fundraiser," he said. "She taught us that being a leader didn't have to be about your title. It was about lifting people up, inspiring them, embracing them and picking them up when they'd fall. She made everyone feel like they mattered."
Family members say a separate visitation and funeral will be held in her hometown of Orangeburg, S.C., on Sunday and Monday.