Local bishop and Boy Scout leader dies while rappelling

Local News

POWELL, OH (WCMH) — A leader at both his church and with the Boy Scouts died in a tragic accident over the weekend while rappelling in the Hocking Hills.

Tim Watabe was a Bishop at the Dublin Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and a Boy Scout leader with the troop at his church.

Richard Welch, a church leader and friend, said Bishop Watabe was doing what he loved, molding young minds through the gospel and team building with teenage boys by teaching them to rappel on cliffs in the Hocking Hills.

Watabe, 49, was the father of four children, ages 22, 20, 15 and six. Welch said he was a bishop at Dublin’s Coffman Road church with a congregation of over three hundred people.

“There is probably still a little shock going on with this. But they are doing ok, and the family of the community here the members of this congregation have really reached out and wrapped their arms around them and certainly provided a lot of support,” said Welch, who serves as President of the Columbus, Ohio North Stake and an ecclesiastical leader of 4,100 church members.

He called Watabe a wonderful person and remarkable individual who always had a smile on his face.

“He exemplified the characteristics you would want in a bishop,” Welch said. “He was somebody that was dedicated to helping and blessing the lives of other people, even those who were not members of his congregation.”

Another scout troop leader at the Hocking Hills rappelling site said Watabe was preparing the climbing gear near the top of the cliff and when he turned around Watabe fell and no one saw what caused it. Welsh said Watabe was a certified in the sport and emphasized safety.

“This is an extremely difficult time for our Scouting family. We are very sad to confirm the death of one of our adult leaders during a Troop outing over the weekend,” said Jeff Moe, the CEO of the Simon Kenton Council of Boy Scouts of America. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and we will support them in any way we that we can.”

“We can confirm that no Scouts were harmed. We are mindful of the Scouts in this unit, and will be offering grief counseling to our members and volunteers,” Moe continued. “We would like to thank the emergency teams who responded and assisted on this matter. The safety and well-being of our participants and staff is of paramount importance to the BSA, and integral to everything we do. The Boy Scouts of America’s procedure for organizing BSA climbing/rappelling activities at a natural site or a specifically designed facility is climb on safely.”

Watabe’s visitation is on Friday in Powell and his funeral is on Saturday.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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