54-year-old Martin Bodrog was a 1977 graduate of Audubon High School.
Bodrog lived on a quiet, tree-shaded cul-de-sac in Annandale, Va., where family and friends gathered Tuesday.
Jeff Prowse, a close friend of Bodrog and family spokesman, said Bodrog was a hardworking Navy veteran and graduate of the Naval Academy who cared deeply about his family, his friends and his country.
"A heart of gold, and one of the most humble, self-effacing guys," said Prowse, a burly ex-Marine who paused several times to fight back tears as he talked.
"This is just an absolute tragedy for so many reasons," Prowse said.
Prowse worked with Bodrog at the Pentagon on amphibious vessel programs. He said Bodrog was transferred from the Pentagon to the Navy Yard in January.
Bodrog had been married for 25 years to Melanie, whom he met while she was serving on active duty as a Navy nurse. The couple have three daughters, ages 23, 17 and 16.
Prowse and Bodrog shared a love of the Boston Bruins hockey team and he last spoke to his good friend about a week ago.
"We were actually getting ready to figure out our Bruins schedule for the year," said Prowse, who retired from the military and now lives in southwest Virginia.
Bodrog was active in his church, where he started a Bible study and helped lead preschool and youth programs, Prowse said. In the winter, Bodrog could be seen in shorts and his Boston Bruins jersey, shoveling the driveways of elderly neighbors.
"The one thing that always stuck out to me about Marty ... was how absolutely driven he was to make sure that the equipment we were giving our Marines and sailors was absolutely the best he could be," Prowse said. "It was not a job for Marty, it was an absolute calling."
The Associated Press contributed to this report