STOCKTON -- A memorial was held in Stockton Thursday for Sgt. John Perry.
His father, Stewart Perry, has a home filled with memories of his son.
John Perry was a loving husband, a father of two and a soldier in the Army.
But the 30-year-old's life ended over the weekend in Afghanistan.
"My son died in a very dignified and graceful manner with a very calm expression on his face and no pain," Stewart Perry said.
Sgt. Perry died when a suicide bomber detonated on base.
It was his second deployment to Afghanistan.
"He was loving and caring and he did care for me," said his 8-year-old sister Anita Perry.
She is mourning the loss of a brother she barely got to know.
"I only met him two times, then he left for Afghanistan and he never came back," said Anita.
During this heartbreaking loss, the family has learned that in death, John Perry became a hero.
"He made a decision that saved a lot of people's lives," said Stewart Perry.
He was a combat instructor.
His father says before the bombing, he changed a training location; moving a group of soldiers away from a large group.
Instead of hundreds of people getting bombed, Perry died.
Pfc. Tyler Iubelt and two Army contractors were also killed.
"The U.S. Army has treated my son with kid gloves, just perfection," said Perry.
Stewart Perry and his family went to Dover Air Force Base this week.
Vice President Biden was one of many dignitaries there to honor his son as his body returned to the U.S.
"We really appreciate what Vice President Biden did and his care. He stood on that flight line and saluted with his hand across his chest," said Perry.
In death, Perry's heroism is being recognized.
He was posthumously promoted to staff sergeant and awarded a bronze star.
John Perry will be buried at Arlington National Ceremony with full military honors.