Skydiving is traditionally one of those thrill-invoking activities that we only watch in movies, and sometimes, we watch professionals jump off a chopper, and we go, ” I’m going to do that one day.” But that small triumphant note gets safely tucked away under the daily routine and lifestyle layers. But this trajectory did not change the fate of 104-year-old Dorothy Hoffner, who set the world record last week for the oldest skydiver, beating another woman, 103 years old, to the punch.
Dorothy Hoffner, after gaining unbridled appreciation and endearment for her brave world record, passed away on Monday, just a week after her accolade. Skydive Chicago and the United States Parachute Association addressed and confirmed her death via a statement to People. Earlier, before Hoffner broke the record, the title was occupied by Sweden’s Rut Linnéa Ingegärd Larsson, per Guinness World Records, who earned the title in May 2022 at the age of 103.
The statement of her passing, which was acquired by People, read, “We are deeply saddened by Dorothy’s passing and feel honored to have been a part of making her world-record skydive a reality.” Through The Chicago Tribune, People report the words of Hoffner’s friend Joe Conant, saying that the 104-year-old had passed away peacefully in her sleep, adding that her death was an unexpected tragedy. Conant told The Chicago Tribune via People, “It came as quite a shock,” adding, “She gave an incredible amount of her spirit and life to all of us, and it inspired all of us.”
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Conant continued about Hoffner in his testament to The Chicago Sun-Times, acquired via People, saying that he had first met her five years ago when he was working at Brookdale Senior Living. He recalled telling Hoffner sometime around 2019 of his plans to go skydiving. Conant continued this intriguing story where he sparked a passion for skydiving in Hoffner during this encounter, saying, “She enthusiastically said, ‘I want to go,’ and I thought she meant she just wanted to come and watch,” Conant told the outlet. “I explained what it all entails, and she said, “Yeah, that sounds great. I want to try it.” Following this pep talk, shortly afterward, Hoffner completed her first skydive at the age of 100 on her birthday.
The free-spirited 104-year-old never told her family about her groundbreaking milestone until she made headlines upon her breaking the world record at 104 years of age. As indicated, People report that Hoffner was not inviting the media to explore her journey at first because she liked to stay away from the glaring attention. But eventually, she embraced her win. Her close friend Conant told the Tribune, as gathered by People, that “She wasn’t doing it because of the world record,” adding, “She was doing it because she wanted to go skydiving.”
Skydive Chicago and the United States Parachute Association further said about Hoffner in their statement:
“Skydiving is an activity that many of us safely tucked away in our bucket lists. But Dorothy reminds us that it’s never too late to take the thrill of a lifetime. “We are forever grateful that skydiving was a part of her exciting, well-lived life,” they continued. “Her legacy is even more remarkable because of the attention the world gave to her inspiring story.”
Even at the age of 104, Hoffner was not afraid to conquer her dreams. She left us with a valuable message which we should carry forward with us.