the oldest person in skydiving: Dorothy Hafner, the Chicago woman who made history in early October as the oldest person to parachute from an airplane, has passed away at the age of 104.
Dorothy completed a back-to-back jump from 13,500 feet (4,100 m) on October 1, landing at the Chicago Skydive Airport in Etowah, Illinois. However, the Guinness World Records certification for this remarkable achievement is still pending.
“Age is just a number,” she declared to the crowd upon safely touching the ground.
Her close friend, Joe Conant, shared that she was discovered deceased on Monday morning by the staff at Brookdale Lakeview Living Community. Apparently, she passed away peacefully in her sleep on Sunday night.
“[Dorothy] was an unstoppable force,” Joe expressed about his friend. “She never slowed down.”
She never took afternoon naps or missed any events, dinners, or functions. She was always present, and fully engaged.
“She was a cherished friend who served as an inspiration.”
Joe is now handling the necessary paperwork to have the record officially recognized following Dorothy’s passing, although Dorothy herself had “no intention” of breaking the skydiving record or publicizing it.
“She did it solely because she wanted to skydive,” Joe explained.
The current record was set by Swedish woman Ruth Linea Inggard Larsson, who was 103 years old at the time, in May of last year.
Dorothy had previously mentioned to reporters that she was considering inviting a 109-year-old resident from her building to join her for her next jump. This resident had already skydived on their 100th birthday.
In a joint statement, Skydive Chicago and the United States Skydiving Association expressed, “We are deeply saddened by Dorothy’s passing and feel privileged to have been a part of her skydiving world record.
Skydiving is an activity that many of us take for granted, but Dorothy reminds us that it’s never too late to experience the thrill of a lifetime. We will forever be grateful that skydiving played a role in her vibrant and well-lived life.”
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Dorothy never married, and her friends do not believe her death was related to her skydiving activities.
Meanwhile, Joe mentioned that Dorothy did not have any surviving family members.
A memorial service is scheduled for early November.