Former President Obama’s personal chef who also served him during his time in office drowned in shallow water near Barack and his wife Michelle’s mansion in Martha’s Vineyard on Monday.
It turns out Obama’s chef isn’t the first to die under weird circumstances.
The paddleboarder who had submerged and failed to surface on Sunday night was still missing, and the hunt for him had picked up early on Monday morning in Edgartown Great Pond. When ex-White House chef Tafari Campbell was found by the MA Environmental Police, the multi-agency investigation ended, according to news releases.
Campbell, of Dumfries, Virginia, was identified as the victim. He is survived by his wife Sherise and their 19-year-old twin sons Xavier and Savin. The former White House sous chef, who had continued to work for the Obamas after the president’s term ended, had been in Martha’s Vineyard, according to the Massachusetts State Police.
According to information provided by CBS News, Campbell had previously worked for the White House as a chef after being employed during the tenure of former President George W. Bush. He was one of the few culinary staff members that stayed on during the change from the Bush administration to Obama’s.
News is coming out about a former chef who worked in the White House for Presidents G.W. Bush and Slick Willy, aka Bill Clinton.
“Campbell’s death has parallels with that of Walter Scheib, an executive chef at the White House for 11 years under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Scheib drowned in June 2015 while hiking in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Taos, in New Mexico,” according to Newsweek Magazine.
Scheib, aged 61, was reported missing on June 16, 2015 by his girlfriend after setting off on what authorities believe was a fishing trip three days earlier.
His body was found “submerged in a mountain drainage flowing with surface runoff” about 25 yards from the Yerba Canyon trail. It was hidden from view by “dense vegetation and a steep, rocky decline.”
Thunderstorms hit the area as Scheib made his way down the Lobo Peak mountain. Incident commander Richard Goldstein said that water had been “running very fast” due to the weather.
The last cellular signal from Scheib’s phone was detected at 3 p.m. on June 13, with rescue workers using helicopters, dogs and horses to assist in their search for his body. Police later said there was no indication that anyone else was involved in Scheib’s death.
During a 2006 interview with The Washington Post about his work in the White House, Scheib said: “I loved working for the Bushes and the Clintons. It’s the greatest honor a chef can have to work for the First families.”
The chef went on to appear on the Food Network’s Iron Chef, and co-wrote a book titled White House Chef: Eleven Years, Two Presidents, One Kitchen.
Regarding Campbell, Obama’s chef who drowned, according to police, “President and Mrs. Obama were not present at the residence at the time of the accident.”
The Daily Mail added that the Obamas were on the island, though.
Initially, the Obamas’ office said they were not home. Their office clarified on Monday that they were on the island, just not at the residence when Campbell drowned.
The Mail added that “It remains unclear whether Campbell suffered any kind of medical episode while on the board.”
After the first report described how an anonymous companion had reported the occurrence to the 911 dispatcher connected to the multimillion-dollar mansion belonging by the Obamas, suspicion surrounding the Sunday night drowning only deepened.
People Magazine provided a few more details, including that the body was found in only 8 feet of water, which isn’t deep at all:
Massachusetts State Police, who confirmed Campbell’s death to PEOPLE, said in a news release that Campbell, who was from Dumfries, Virginia, was recovered by divers from a pond on Edgartown Great Road shortly before 10 a.m. ET.
“MSP Underwater Recovery Unit divers made the recovery after the victim’s body was located by Massachusetts Environmental Police Officers deploying side-scan sonar from a boat,” the department said in the release, noting the recovery was made “approximately 100 feet from shore at a depth of about eight feet.”
The search started at 7:46 p.m. ET on Sunday when Martha’s Vineyard police and fire agencies responded to a 911 call for “a male paddle boarder who had gone into the water, appeared to briefly struggle to stay on the surface, and then submerged and did not resurface.”
After the victim’s identity was made public, a 2017 photo of him and his wife in Aruba with the caption #stillcantswim quickly went viral.
But further investigation of his Instagram page revealed that the chef “later became a proficient swimmer.”
The Obama chef who reportedly drowned later became a proficient swimmer.
More from his IG feed.
— Jordan Schachtel @ dossier.today (@JordanSchachtel) July 24, 2023
Obama’s chef who drowned while paddleboarding in a 8 ft deep pond by Obama’s home was a decent swimmer. This is from his IG: pic.twitter.com/4MjrHZ866H
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) July 25, 2023