BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A service was held today for Kern County Sheriff's Office Commander Ian Chandler, who died suddenly and unexpectedly a week ago Sunday.
"Ian was one of my closest friends but I promise you there are hundreds of others out there that feel the same way because Ian, he really made you feel that way," said Shafter Chief of Police Kevin Zimmermann.
Zimmermann says his family Chandler's family met for Friendsgiving the night before he suddenly and unexpectedly passed away.
"The day that Ian died he was at my house playing darts, just being Ian, you know, whooping everybody in darts having a good time. And it was a very sad night," Zimmermann said.
The cause of death is unknown, but Zimmermann says Chandler died at home. As hundreds packed in to Canyon Hills Assembly of God church on Monday for Chandler's service, many told stories of a man who was a great deputy and commander, but first and foremost, a family man.
"His smile and his laugh hooked for sure. Even though I heard 'copy that' many times, there was another saying he liked using even more. And that was 'family first," said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood.
Youngblood calls Chandler his nephew. 23ABC caught up with him at a reception held at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace after the service. Youngblood describing the joy he brought to family, friends, and coworkers.
"Never anything but a smile on his face, which was really infectious to his friends, really just all around good person, and then a great deputy and a great Commander," Youngblood said.
"He opened up to the public, he would talk to anybody, he wanted to be their friends and they knew it, and that's the type of law enforcement that's gonna succeed in today's world," said former KCSO Sheriff Carl Sparks.