OCEANSIDE, Calif. - Hundreds gathered Saturday to remember an Oceanside man who disappeared off the North County coastline earlier this week.
52-year-old Loren Ruden's family reported him missing Monday after a beachgoer found his dog north of the Oceanside Pier.
"He's very loved, and I have seen that throughout the week even more than I expected," said Ruden's daughter, Maggie.
About 200 people turned out to honor Ruden. Some sobbed and others quietly wiped tears as friends, family and fishing buddies swapped stories about the stay-at-home father of three who loved his life and the people in it.
"Loren was very careful to take care of and nurture his human relationships … same way with his dog," said Angie Richards, Ruden's sister.
Another sister, Linda Stanley, says Ruden and his dog Sadie left Oceanside Harbor on Monday for the kelp beds off San Onofre.
"I don't know what happened," said Stanley. "No one knows what happened. He went out on his favorite boat with his favorite dog in his favorite spot on earth, the ocean, beautiful day and he didn't come back."
A surf class spotted Sadie swimming to shore that day. Early Tuesday, searchers in La Jolla found his boat, which he had just named "Lucky Dog" two weeks ago.
"It's just kind of a double meaning now because Sadie is home with the family and she's a lucky dog and our whole family thinks we're all lucky dogs too," said Richards.
They say they are lucky to have known him, so they walked down the jetty, said prayers and sent flowers to him.
"Every time I look at the ocean now, my brother will be there with me," said Stanley.
On Wednesday, authorities called off the search for Ruden. However, his family says friends, fellow fishermen and complete strangers are continuing to search out there.
The group signed a huge "thank you" card they plan to give U.S. Coast Guard members who searched tirelessly to find Ruden.