GORHAM — More than 300 of Jason Whitaker’s relatives and friends packed DiMillo’s On The Water in Portland on Friday to celebrate and honor a man they say affected so many people in such a short life.

His friends threw a fundraiser called “Jakeaplooza,” which featured food, live music, and an auction with roughly 150 items donated by his friends and local businesses. The event raised about $36,000 to help offset his medical expenses.

Mr. Whitaker was diagnosed with stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in June. He wanted to attend the event, but his health recently took a turn for the worse. His mother, Marguerite A. Babine, attended in his absence.

“It was phenomenal. The support that was shown for Jake was unbelievable,” she said. “I felt so blessed to be there. He touched so many lives.”

Mr. Whitaker died early Saturday at Maine Medical Center in Portland. He was 39.

He was remembered by his family and friends Tuesday as a strong, boisterous and charismatic man who deeply loved his family.

On Oct. 21, he married his longtime girlfriend, Christina Truong, in a small ceremony at the Gibson Pavilion at MMC.

The nurses decorated his room and pitched in to buy a cake.

Truong said Tuesday that they talked about getting married, but he never asked. She said they were happy together. At the end, he wanted to make it official, she said.

“I was very happy. He finally gave in,” she said, laughing. “I felt very proud to be his wife.”

Mr. Whitaker was a dedicated family man who worked hard to provide for Truong and her two children. She said he considered her kids as his own. He was involved in their lives and attended their school and athletic events.

“They called him ‘Dad,’ ” she said. “There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for them. “

He worked at Barber Foods in Portland for the past 18 years, rising through the ranks to manager of shipping and receiving. His wife said he was a leader, who took pride in his work.

“He was good at what he did,” she said. “He loved the people he worked with.”

Mr. Whitaker had a passion for playing hockey and golf, and was a devoted fan of the New England Patriots. He regularly invited his friends and family to his house on Sundays to watch football. He also enjoyed cooking on his grill, appreciated a good cigar, and enjoyed having a martini with his friends.

His longtime friend Dennis Greene of Westbrook said Mr. Whitaker was a boisterous and funny guy who lived life to the fullest. Greene said he was honored to help organize Friday’s event.

“We laughed and smiled the entire night,” he said. “It was one of the most incredible nights of my life. He passed away right on cue. I can almost see him smile at me.”

Mr. Whitaker died about five hours after the event ended. His wife struggled to accept his passing.

“He is the love of my life,” she said. “I’m angry that this had to happen to him. He was a good person. I don’t understand why it was him.”

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: [email protected]