Gene Deutsch, 72, of Minooka, was challenged to skydive by his granddaughter. He took the challenge and jumped with it.
In fact, he organized the jump as an outing, where six members of his family jumped at the same time.
“I definitely think we should go sky diving,” Deutsch’s granddaughter, Amanda Hoetzer, 25, wrote in a birthday note a year ago. “If you’re still interested at your old age.”
Many would have taken that note as a joke, but Deutsch took it seriously and started investigating where they could sky-dive and what might be involved.
Granted, Deutsch is a private airplane pilot and has been flying since 1969, so he’s comfortable with things connected to flying. Neither he,nor any members of his family, however, had sky-dived before.
He sent a correspondence to his granddaughter and invited her; her brother, Ted, 23; and his daughter, Kim Taylor, from Dallas. He investigated the Chicagoland Skydiving Center in Rochelle and liked what he saw of the operation.
Needless to say, the day of the Aug. 6 jump proved to be fantastic. Even his wife, Shirley, 72, and his other daughter, Geneen Hoetzer from Antioch, agreed at the last minute to be part of the jumping crew.
So six members of the Deutsch family created a family memory; they jumped from 14,000 feet up, four jumping from one plane and two from a second.
Film and video captured family members stepping out of their airplanes, each strapped to an instructor, and plunging earthward.
For each of the members, there was a 60-second freefall, followed by the jarring snap of the parachute opening.
“I’m so happy we got the six of us together,” Gene Deutsch said. “The three generations means so much to me. I never would have gone myself.”