Family speaks after Dandridge pastor suddenly passes away while snorkeling during Fla. vacation

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MONROE COUNTY, Fla. (WATE) — A Dandridge pastor suddenly passed away while snorkeling during a vacation in Florida last week, according to a sheriff’s report. Now, his family is speaking about the life of their loved one, Robert Chambers.

Chambers’ daughters, Alivia and Abagail said Thursday that they’re pulling strength from the very community their father had poured so much love into.

To know Robert Chambers was to know love: “He had a pastor’s heart and that’s the main thing,” said his daughter, Alivia.

He was a small-town pastor at Reidtown Community Church and a community servant, but his family says his heart was bigger than the community he served.

“He would do anything for anybody it seemed like anytime we would go out to town somebody would come up and say they needed help,” Alivia said. “It was like he had a sign on him that said you can come to me.”

He wore many hats in life, but his most important job by far was being a dad. Even more than that, he was a role model.

“I just hope to be the Christian that he was and follow in his footsteps and dedicate my life to loving Jesus like he did,” Abagail said.

Every drop of love Robert Chambers gave in life, is now being returned tenfold in his absence.

“We’ve been so overwhelmed with the love and support that everybody has given us,” Abagail said. “There are churches that none of us have stepped foot in that have stepped up and offered time, offered money, offered condolences, offered anything.”

Losing a father is difficult, but the Chambers sisters say knowing theirs ended up right where he wanted to be, also brings them comfort.

The Chambers family says they plan to lay the pastor to rest next week. He leaves behind a wife and three children.

Monroe County, Fla. Sheriff’s Office says Chambers, 49, had been snorkeling off Key Largo when he died after losing consciousness on Molasses Reef on Friday, April 30.

Chambers was pronounced dead at the hospital. Foul play is not believed to be a factor in the incident and autopsy reports are pending.

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