FARGO, N.D. -

Friends and family are remembering the life of 76–year–old Arnold Esterby.

The longtime Fargo Jet Center employee has become the first human West Nile fatality in the state this season.

"Love your family like you never have before, rule number one, because it can all get taken away in a second. Number two, that my Dad's my hero,"  says Esterby's son, Kent Esterby.

They say he was a man who loved his family, the Green Bay Packers, and his job.

"And he loved the Fargo Jet Center, it was like his second family, so he was just a big family man, always willing to help out, he loved working on my Harley with me. He was the kinda guy who just never said no," says Kent Esterby.

The love for his job showed after his workplace agreed to host the wake inside the hanger.

He died Sunday after contracting the West Nile virus.

His family says whatever gave it to him was in the area.

"Didn't really travel a lot, just liked being outside with mom, and his dog, and walking, gardening," says Kent Esterby.

Some hope this sparks more discussion about the risks of West Nile.

But for now, the family wants to celebrate his life and legacy.

"He was a silent leader in life, and really one of the guys that kind of affects a lot of people in life with just his charisma. He's just a really good guy," says Kent Esterby.

"I just want you to know how Arnie would appreciate this. He loved working out here, he loved the people, and I can see that they felt the same way about him," says Esterby's wife, Cheryl Esterby.

"The first couple days that Dad took off work sick, he had no idea what was wrong and just, real light symptoms. I was asking him how he was feeling, he said 'oh not much better, just gonna get up and go to work tomorrow. Maybe things will get better throughout the week," says Esterby's daughter.

"I do not have a bad word to say about that man. I loved him so much," says Esterby's son-in-law.