Death of Pooler's police chief leaves many in mourning

Pooler Police Chief Clarence "Butch" Chan
Pooler Police Chief Clarence "Butch" Chan

By Michelle Paynter - bio | email

POOLER, GA (WTOC) - A man of character, beloved by so many in this community, has passed away.

Pooler Police Chief Clarence "Butch" Chan died suddenly over the weekend on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea. He was on vacation with his wife Laura. Chan was only 65-years-old.

Information of Chief Chan's passing spread fast Monday morning, leaving many in tears.

Someone placed flowers in front of the Pooler Police Department.

Pooler's Mayor Mike Lamb, like so many others, is still in shock.

The city manager told the staff at city hall at 8:30 a.m. Lamb said, "So many tears, people crying, so many hugs, he will be sorely missed."

Lamb played in several golf tournaments with Chan. He said it was a honor to call Chan his friend. "He had this huge wide range of ability to relate to people."

Chief Chan made such an impression on police major Mark Revenew 25 years ago that Revenew joined the Pooler Police Department and never left.

"He left his touch," said Revenew. "He taught at the academy for many years, taught me as a rookie, his touch will go on for generations."

Revenew wore a black band across his badge in honor of his chief and held back tears.

"He was a true inspiration and anybody who knows him knows his integrity is second to none," said Revenew.

Chan began his law enforcement career 40 years ago, working at the Chatham County Police Department under now Sheriff Al St. Lawrence.

Chan was a member of the department's motorcycle squad.

St. Lawrence said, "He was a great guy and good officer and always has been."

CrimeStoppers Director Demery Bishop says Chan could always make you smile. Chan was a member of the board of directors since 2008.

"He was Butch, and he always made people feel good and made people have a sense of, 'It doesn't matter because I can help you out and be there to help you out,'" Bishop said of Chan.

Now those who knew Chan are reaching out to each other, mourning the passing of their friend.

Lamb said, "He's a man well respected for the position he was in and the man he was."

A family man, Pooler's Chief of Police.

Chan leaves behind his wife Laura, two sons and several grandchildren.

There is no information yet on funeral arrangements. Pooler officials are working with local congressmen to try to expedite the process of bringing Chan and his wife back to the United States. Their cruise ship is still at sea and is schedule to dock in Venice, Italy in the next day or so.

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