A retired Baton Rouge man who loved spending long summer days at the beach drowned on Labor Day, dragged under by a dangerous rip current off Navarre Beach on the Florida Panhandle.
He is at least the second Baton Rouge-area resident to drown this summer in the Gulf of Mexico.
Roderick M. Maybee, 65, was pulled unconscious from the Gulf on Monday afternoon and airlifted to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead, the Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office said.
Single red flags dotted the beach, alerting swimmers to the dangerous rip currents.
Officials in Florida also transported a 2-year-old child to Sacred Heart Hospital in nearby Pensacola after the child was pulled from the water later Monday.
Bystanders were performing CPR on the child when firefighters from Okaloosa Island and other first responders arrived. The child is reported to be in critical condition.
The news of Maybee’s death floored his daughter Heather Robinson, 38, who was home in Houston when her stepmother, Kathleen Maybee, called her with the devastating news.
Kathleen Maybee was on the beach with her husband and saw him get pulled under.
“It was shocking,” Robinson said.
She said the family had vacationed at the Navarre beach area with her father since she was little and that he was strong swimmer.
Another Baton Rouge-area resident who drowned in the Gulf this summer after getting caught in rip currents was Chaston Brown.
The 17-year-old Ponchatoula boy drowned in the waters off Gulf Shores, Alabama, while visiting the beach with friends July 20.
When Brown was reported missing, there was a yellow flag on the beach indicating medium-strength surf and currents. A double-red flag means the beach is closed to the public. A green flag means low hazards, calm conditions. A purple flag means dangerous marine life.
Brown’s body was found by a swimmer two days later a few blocks from where he was last seen.
Brown would have been a sophomore at Ponchatoula High School.
Roderick Maybee loved to travel and has hit the road a lot since he retired from FMC Technologies, an oil and gas company where he was a recruiter and purchasing agent. He previously did the same job for oil and gas giant Shell.
Besides the beach, Roderick Maybee liked to travel to the Great Smokey Mountains in his recreational vehicle, Robinson said.
She said the thing she will miss most about her father is his sense of humor.
“He instilled great values in me, made me the person I am today,” she said.
A service for Roderick Maybee is scheduled Friday morning at Resthaven Funeral Home, Robinson said, adding she did not know the exact time.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow Ryan Broussard on Twitter, @ryanmbroussard.