AURORA, Colorado (CNN) -- Stories of heroism, zest for life and a birthday celebration that turned tragic emerged as family and friends shared information on loved ones killed in Friday's mass shooting at an Aurora movie theater.
Almost all of the 12 victims were young, one only 6, with so much life ahead of them.
The cause of death in all cases is related to gunshot wounds, according to the Arapahoe County Coroner's Office.
Jonathan T. Blunk, 26
Jonathan Blunk was supposed to fly Saturday to Reno, Nevada, to see his wife, 4-year-old daughter and son, 2.
"We were going to have a family day," said wife Chantel Blunk.
Instead, she put up the dress her daughter had picked out to wear to the airport. "I tried to tell her we wouldn't see Daddy anymore. But that he would still love us and look over us."
Jonathan Blunk served five years in the U.S. Navy, including service aboard a vessel in San Diego. Her husband said if he died, he wanted it to happen in battle, Chantel Blunk told CNN.
The Reno couple married in 2007 and separated in 2010, she said. The pair remained on good terms after Jonathan moved to Aurora. He held various positions and was trying to get back into the service, she said.
Chantel Blunk said she wants her husband to have a military funeral. She said she will remember Jonathan's humor, spontaneity and attention to family.
Hailey, 4, is comforted by calling her father's cell phone and hearing his voice on the voice mail.
"We love him and he is going to be remembered as a hero," Chantel Blunk said.
Alexander J. Boik, 18
A Facebook page was created in memory of Boik, a Gateway High School student who was at the theater with his girlfriend and a friend.
"AJ was an awesome kid and a truly Inspirational teammate," one individual wrote on the page. "You cant find someone with a brighter smile and more positive outlook on life. There to help you up when your down and One to carry on life with such an intelligence." (sic)
Boik was an independent distributor for Organo Gold, a coffee company, and lived in Aurora, according to what appears to be his personal Facebook page.
James Crofter, father of Jordan Crofter, Boik's friend who survived the shooting, said Jordan and Boik played lacrosse together. Boik's girlfriend also was in the theater. She and Jordan found each other outside the theater, but Boik did not make it out.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jesse E. Childress, 29
Childress, an Air Force reservist, was a cybersystems operator on active duty with the 310th Force Support Squadron at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado. He was from Thornton, Colorado.
"Jesse was an invaluable part of the 310th family," said Lt. Col. Pat Walsh. "He literally touched everyone in the wing -- over 1,000 people."
Gordon W. Cowden, 51
Jessica Ghawi, 24
Aspiring sports reporter Ghawi narrowly avoided another shooting incident in Toronto just last month -- an incident that prompted her to reflect on life on her blog.
The Toronto shooting at the Eaton Centre left one person dead and seven injured.
"I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders' faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change," she wrote at the time. "I was reminded that we don't know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath."
Ghawi, who also went by the name Jessica Redfield, grew up in Texas and interned at Ticket 760, a sports radio station in San Antonio, before moving to Denver to try to break into the television market there.
A memorial service is scheduled for July 28 in San Antonio.
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class John Thomas Larimer, 27
Like his father and grandfather, Larimer chose to join the Navy. He was serving at his first post, said his father, Scott Larimer.
A Navy notification team officially informed the family in Crystal Lake, Illinois, around midnight Saturday, a statement from the family said.
"He was an outstanding shipmate, a valued member of our Navy team and an extremely dedicated sailor," said Cmdr. Jeffrey Jakuboski. "Sailors were really drawn to his calming demeanor and exceptional work ethic. He was also known as that quiet, extremely competent professional."
"He was doing extraordinarily well" and had a bright future ahead of him, Jakuboski said of Larimer.
His unit, part of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, was stationed at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado. Larimer had been in the service about one year. He had not seen combat.
"We send our thoughts and prayers out to the families of the other victims and those still recovering in the hospital," his family said. "We love you, John, and we will miss you always."
Matthew R. McQuinn, 27
McQuinn died trying to provide cover for his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler, during the shooting at the movie theater, according to family attorney Rob Scott.
Yowler and her brother Nick, who also was trying to protect her from the bullets, both survived.
Samantha Yowler, hit by a bullet