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104-Year-Old Woman Dies the Day After Record-Breaking Skydive

Source: Anne Andrea Santos/ X

It’s a universal truth that, as mortal beings, everyone will kick the bucket one day. While this realization is sobering, it can also serve as a motivation to live life to the fullest. 

What’s on your bucket list? Be sure to tick them all as fast as possible. If you exhaust your list, create new ones and tick them all again. Because no matter how long you live, there’ll always be new experiences to enjoy.

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Perhaps that was what this 104-year-old woman, Dorathy Hoffner, was trying to teach us when she became the world’s oldest skydiver on October 1st in Northern Illinois. She jumped out of a plane as far up in the sky as 13,500 feet to snatch the 1-year-old record of Swedish Rut Linnéa Ingegärd Larsson, who skydived last year at age 103. Hoffer revealed that she had dreamt of being in a free fall only a few days before her skydive.

Hoffer wasn’t looking to break any record when she embarked on what has now been referred to as a “daredevil stunt.”  She really was just having fun, as is evidenced by her comments as she jumped. “Let’s go, let’s go, Geronimo,” she had said. After landing, she told reporters that age is only a number.

The video of an interview which she granted shortly after the record-breaking event was posted on X by Jake Sheridan, a Chicago Tribune reporter. In the clip, Hoffer was asked how it felt to be back on the ground.  “Wonderful, but it was wonderful up there too,” she responded, “the whole thing was delightful, wonderful, couldn’t have been better.”

Hoffer was someone who had lots of jokes up her sleeve. She didn’t inform any of her family members about her new feat until the next day when they came visiting at her Brookdale Lake View senior living community. 

“Dorothy, you never told us you went skydiving,” they said in surprise after she handed them a copy of the Chicago Tribune that had “Chicagoan sets record as oldest skydiver” as the headline. “Well, you never asked,” she responded.

The 104-year-old expressed her desire to ride in a hot air balloon as her next adventure. “I’ve never been in one of those,” she said. Sadly, that will never happen as she died in her sleep only a week after her amazing feat. 

According to her close friend, Joe Conant, Hoffer was “indefatigable.” “She was not someone who would take naps in the afternoon, or not show up for any function, dinner, or anything else. She was always there, fully present. She kept going, always,” he said.

Expressing shock at her passing, Skydive Chicago, the skydiving center that facilitated her 13,500-foot fall, said they were honored to have been part of her last adventure. “Skydiving is an activity that many of us safely tucked away on our bucket lists. But Dorothy reminds us that it’s never too late to take the thrill of a lifetime,” their statement read.

Conant is currently working to have her officially recognized by the Guinness World Records as the oldest skydiver ever.


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