Joe Allbritton service at National Cathedral

A service was held Tuesday at the National Cathedral in honor of Joe Allbritton, the founder of ABC7, NewsChannel 8 and POLITICO.

Mr. Allbritton passed away on Dec. 12 at the age of 87.

He and his wife Barbara were major contributors to scores of philanthropic, educational and artistic institutions, including Washington's Kennedy Center and Arena Stage.

Mr. Allbritton gave to hundreds of charitable causes through the Allbritton Foundation, including Baylor Medical School, the Allbritton Art Institute, the Oxford Scholars, as well as the establishment of the International School of Law, which has become the George Mason Law School in Virginia.

“Joe lived fully,” said former secretary of state James Baker III during the eulogy. “He laughed heartily. He gave generously. And he succeeded enormously.”

But as much money as he made, Allbritton, friends said, never forgot his simple roots. His collection of Picassos and van Goghs was simply 'my pictures.' And his generosity, much of it anonymous, was legendary.

“He was very giving,” says community activist Rocky Twyman. “He never lost that common touch and he just made everybody feed special. It's a tremendous loss.”

And above all, he was remembered as a loving husband, father and grandfather.

“My best memory of him is in the family and the absolute joy he took in those children,” says Chandra Hardy, his daughter-in-law’s mother. “He was a very doting granddad.”

Allbritton was actually a Baptist, but Bishop Nathan Baxter Tuesday called him an "ecumenical Episcopalian.” He said he loved the National Cathedral and even helped to save it from foreclosure 30 years ago.

He was even installed as honorary canon of the cathedral and given his own seat in the great choir near the high altar.