Church holds remembrance ceremony for pastor killed in boating accident

Donald Tabb (Source: Facebook)
Donald Tabb (Source: Facebook)
Hundreds turned out to remember Donald Tabb (Source: WAFB)
Hundreds turned out to remember Donald Tabb (Source: WAFB)
Hundreds turned out to remember Donald Tabb (Source: WAFB)
Hundreds turned out to remember Donald Tabb (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A remembrance ceremony was held in Baton Rouge Monday for a pastor killed in a boating accident.

Donald Tabb, 85, who founded The Chapel on LSU's campus, was remembered and celebrated during a special ceremony at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center (PMAC) from 10 a.m. until noon. A reception at The Chapel followed the ceremony.

What do you say about a man who meant so much to so many? On Monday, close friends and relatives of Tabb had no problem finding the courage or the words to share their memories with the hundreds of people who came to the PMAC to celebrate his life, many of them donning boots to honor the native Texas cowboy, who in his long life, wore many hats. His friend of 48 years, Jeff Gilmore, summed it up this way.

"A small portrait of the life of Don Tabb expressed in the saying, 'It's easy to count the seeds in an apple, but it's impossible to count the apples in a seed,' and Donald Tabb was that seed," Gilmore said.

Tabb's spiritual life was rooted in Texas, but later spread to Louisiana, where he and his family moved to help prepare for a Billy Graham Crusade in Tiger Stadium. It was there Tabb began to mentor to and lead many on their own faithful journeys. Rodney wood was one of them. "No, I never heard a man speak like Donald Tabb. He put hope in my heart," said Rodney Wood.

When he wasn't preaching, his friends say you could find Tabb on the water. His close friend, Warren Rabb, recalled the last time he took Tabb fishing. It was one week before the accident that would take Tabb's life. "That guy liked to fish more than anyone I know. He didn't want to quit. I said, 'Tabb, we've got to quit. It's too hot.' He said, 'Well, let's fish a little longer,'" said Rabb.

His friends say Tabb was also a fisher of men. Tabb was a husband, father, grandfather, mentor, a hero to so many he sought to help. Tabb spent his last moments, his children say, putting his friend's life before his own.

"True to character to the very end, he told his closest friend, fishing buddy, Pat, to go save his dear friend first," said Candy Tabb.

The following statement was released Saturday, May 5 by The Chapel on LSU's campus, for which Donald Tabb was a founder.

After 72 hours of intense but unsuccessful search and rescue efforts, and meetings with the US Coast Guard and the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries, the Tabb family, with the corroboration of these two State and Federal agencies, has concluded that at or about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, May 2, 2018, beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend, mentor, Army Ranger, fisherman, evangelist and cowboy, Pastor Donald S. Tabb, left this realm for the glories of Heaven.

Tabb disappeared after the boating accident, which happened in Plaquemines Parish on May 2. A man from Texas was killed in the incident and another man was able to swim to safety. The incident happened near Port Eads.

The Coast Guard and Department of Wildlife and Fisheries suspended the search for Tabb on Friday, May 4. His body was later found on Saturday, May 5.

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Along with his work at Chapel on LSU's Campus, Tabb founded The Dunham School.

Tabb's wife and one of their daughters were in London when they heard the news and quickly flew home.

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