Missouri

Driver who died in Missouri duck boat tragedy was ‘positive and happy’ former pastor

‘Ride The Ducks’ boats struck by huge waves on Table Rock Lake

Eyewitness video shows Ride the Ducks boats being struck by huge waves on July 19 on Table Rock Lake. Onlookers can be heard saying 'it's going under.'
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Eyewitness video shows Ride the Ducks boats being struck by huge waves on July 19 on Table Rock Lake. Onlookers can be heard saying 'it's going under.'

Friends and co-workers have identified former church pastor Robert “Bob” Williams as the duck boat driver who died Thursday night at Table Rock Lake.

“He was an outstanding individual and one of the most humble people I’ve ever known,” said friend Tony Krukow.

In addition to Williams, 16 others died in the accident, including nine members of a family of 11 who appear to be from Indiana, according to news reports.

Williams was known as Pastor Bob at The King’s Cathedral in Providence, R.I., where he had served as associate pastor and elder for more than a decade before he and his wife moved to the Branson area.

Reached by email Friday, Bishop Jeffery A. Williams, Robert Williams’ son-in-law, said Robert Williams was a founding member of the church and served with honor.

“Pastor Bob was a Prince of a Man, loving, kind, and generous, whose loss to our family is incalculable,” Jeffery Williams said.

He added that Robert Williams was “undoubtedly trying to save others” when he lost his own life on Thursday.

Before going to work for Ride the Ducks, Williams worked for the Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai in Branson.

He worked there for several years before leaving in 2015, said manager Cathay Tan.

“Bob will always be part of our family,” Tan said Friday.

He and the acrobats who worked there called each other “buddy,” she said.

“He was a great friend,” Tan said. “He was always positive and happy.”

Many people who knew Williams turned to social media Friday to share the affection they had for him.

“He was a great man of God and is without a doubt with Jesus tonight,” Josie Brinae Sherrow posted.

While authorities have not yet officially identified any of those who died, people who knew victims have turned to social media.

One man took to Twitter after finding out his friend was among the victims.

“I am at a loss,” he wrote, “but I know today he is in heaven with God.”

Several others also tweeted about other victims.

Facebook user Mary Ogborn Kientzy identified Bill Asher and his girlfriend Rose Hamann as victims.

Kientzy said she learned of their deaths Friday morning after trying to contact them Thursday night.

Another Facebook user, Kelly Kientzy, posted that she grew up watching her father and Asher’s friendship.

“Bill was always the life of the party and he was never without a story,” Kelly Kientzy said.

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