Father killed saving children caught in rip currents

Reporter Allison Bybee

PORT ST LUCIE, FL (WFLX) - A prominent lawyer killed trying to save his kids caught in the rough surf.

Robert or Bobby Klein was once a president of the St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce, a business man and a family man.

Friends say he will be sorely missed.

A father of two taken at just 49 years old. "Being able to say we are really losing an important part of our community in Bobby Klein this [Monday] evening is an understatement. He will absolutely be missed," states St. Lucie County Commissioner Joe Smith.

Smith just talked to Klein Sunday. He remembers him as an attorney who petitioned the county for land-use changes on behalf of developers. "I think he was probably one of the best in the community in his craft as an attorney. So, it's gonna be difficult to do his job without having him out as the loyal opposition sometimes in the crowd."

Klein was an attorney at "Klein and Dobbins" in Fort Pierce. He represented clients with zoning, commercial real estate and environmental law cases coming before nearly every city and county board on the Treasure Coast.

But Monday morning Klein died heroically. His sons were struggling in the ocean at Bob Graham Beach being pulled by the rip currents.

Fire crews say Klein went out to help them, but, when crews arrived, he was face down in the water.

Beach-goers were shocked. "You never would imagine this happening. Seeing something like that makes you think twice."

Klein will be remembered by friends as hard working, focused and an all-around great guy.

Once named "Lion of the Year" at a Port St. Lucie Lions Club, he was past president of St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce and a dedicated father and husband.

We talked to several Port St. Lucie council members and other friends of Bobby Klein's - all shared stories of him and what a great man he was. But, for many, it was just too tough to talk about it on camera.