His impact on Tybee Island can be seen in the many historic structures he was instrumental in preserving and restoring, but Cullen Chambers' legacy stretched far beyond one small Coastal Georgia island town.
Chambers was an established historic preservationist in Florida — most notably for his roles in restoring Fort Zachary Taylor and a lighthouse station in Key West and another lighthouse station in St. Augustine — when he was lured to Tybee in 1994 to become the executive director of the Tybee Island Historical Society.
The 63-year-old Chambers held that title until his sudden death Monday.
Chambers was responsible for all operations at the Tybee Island Lighthouse Complex — its lighthouse, several historic cottages and a museum — and was an integral figure in several restoration projects on the island.
"He left a tremendously positive imprint on our island that can be seen in the preservation and restoration of our lighthouse and its grounds, our historic (Tybee) Post Theatre, the Fort Screven guardhouse and the many raised cottages he helped to save from the wrecking ball," said Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman. "The success Tybee has had in preserving our Island's heritage and history is in large part thanks to Cullen.
"On top of that, he was such a kind, friendly, giving individual. He will be sorely missed by our little tight-knit community."
Jim Klutz, the former Tybee Island Historical Society president who helped hire Chambers, Tuesday recalled long conversations on a variety of topics with his late friend that showed Chambers' kind-hearted, passionate nature.
"Everybody's unique in their own way, but Cullen was unique in a truly unique way," Klutz said. "He knew who he was, and he was one of the few people I've had the pleasure of working with who not only could see the big picture ... he could also take that picture and get it where it needed to be."