Stanley Duncan, aged 57, was the Chief Executive of the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA).
He was fishing on the rocks near Victoria Terrace in the Co Londonderry town on Tuesday when he fell into the water.
He died at Causeway hospital after he was rescued by a nearby lifeboat crew.
Ministers, colleagues and friends have paid tribute to the Comber man for his dedication to his job and his charity efforts.
A family statement released on Thursday said he had a love for the outdoors after growing up on a Co Down farm, and said he would probably liked to have been a farmer.
"He did a bit of sea-fishing, but was particularly fond of hill-walking and camping, and his garden in Comber is a haven for all kinds of small birds, where the bird-table is always laid," the statement said.
Mr Duncan was a student at Friends School, Lisburn, and later attended Queen's University, Belfast.
After graduating he joined the civil service and worked in a number of roles over the past 36 years, including in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
He also enjoyed sport, playing hockey for Friends Old Boys and competing at a high level in motocross.
The other great mark of Stan's life was his Christian service, expressed in a host of ways through his church, The Crescent Church on University Road in Belfast.
Family friend David Farrell, who has spoken with Mr Duncan's wife and daughters, said he was an honest man who "had integrity".
"He was a first class individual who will be sorely missed by us all," he said.
He added that the Duncan family are "taking great comfort in the fact that Stanley had his faith".
Mr Duncan led one of the uniformed organisations connected to the church, the EBR (Every Boy's Rally), organising large international youth camps in Northern Ireland.
He also led teams to Poland, Hungary, Romania and Kosovo, as well as visiting Albania annually since 1999.
For the past number of years he also served as one of the elders of his church.
He is survived by his wife Wendy, daughters Victoria, 29, and Ruth, 28, and Ruth's husband Ed, as well as by his parents Cecil, 90, and Sally, 92, and by siblings John, Valerie and David and their families.
A thanksgiving service for Mr Duncan will take place at the Crescent Church on Saturday afternoon.