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Tafari Campbell, former White House chef who drowned on Martha's Vineyard

Source: Instagram/Chef Tafari

The unfortunate death of Tafari Campbell marks the second time in less than a decade that a former White House chef has drowned.

Campbell, 45, was identified on Monday as the man whose body was recovered from a pond in Martha’s Vineyard following an apparent paddleboarding accident, according to the MV Times. He was best known as one of the chefs who brewed White House honey ale beer while President Barack Obama was in office. This brew was memorable as he used honey from Michelle Obama’s famous South Lawn garden and left an impression on everyone. After Obama’s second and final term, the first family departing the White House Obama decided to hire Campbell.

The Obamas released a statement on Monday about Campbell’s death:

“Tafari was a beloved part of our family. When we first met him, he was a talented sous chef at the White House — creative and passionate about food and its ability to bring people together. In the years that followed, we got to know him as a warm, fun, extraordinarily kind person who made all of our lives a little brighter. That’s why, when we were getting ready to leave the White House, we asked Tafari to stay with us, and he generously agreed. He’s been part of our lives ever since, and our hearts are broken that he’s gone. Today we join everyone who knew and loved Tafari — especially his wife Sherise and their twin boys, Xavier and Savin — in grieving the loss of a truly wonderful man.”

Campbell is a Dumfries, Virginia native and “was visiting Martha’s Vineyard at the time of his passing. President and Mrs. Obama were not present at the residence at the time of the accident,” shared by Massachusetts police. The search for him began after received reports of a missing paddle boarder on Sunday.

Campbell’s body was found shortly after 10 a.m. and recovered from the Edgartown Great Pond by Massachusetts State Police divers. The divers made the recovery after Campbell’s body was located by Massachusetts Environmental Police Officers “deploying side-scan sonar from a boat.” Police also said Campbell was found “approximately 100 feet from shore at a depth of about 8 feet.

Campbell is survived by his wife Sherise and their twin boys Xavier and Savin.

His death came slightly more than eight years after another former White House chef drowned.

The 2015 death of Walter Scheib, who was the White House executive chef for presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, was similarly described as an accident without any suspicion of foul play, NBC News reported at the time. The 61-year-old was found dead in New Mexico more than a week after he traveled there alone to go hiking.


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Tafari Campbell Is The 2nd Former White House Chef To Accidentally Drown In Less Than A Decade  was originally published on