Dorothy Hoffner, the remarkable 104-year-old Chicago Skydiver who made headlines for her recent skydiving feat, has sadly passed away. Hoffner, whose daring skydive had the potential to secure her a place in the Guinness World Records as the oldest person to ever jump from a plane, was discovered deceased on Monday morning by staff at the Brookdale Lake View senior living community. It is believed that she peacefully passed away in her sleep on Sunday night.
Hoffner’s close friend, Joe Conant, fondly known as “Grandma” at her request, had known her for several years and described her as a person with boundless energy and a sharp mind. Conant, a nurse, spoke of her unwavering presence and commitment to enjoying life to the fullest, never succumbing to afternoon naps or missing any social gatherings or events.
On October 1st, Hoffner made a tandem skydive from 13,500 feet at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, a breathtaking experience that had the potential to secure her a Guinness World Record as the world’s oldest skydiver. Her spirited landing was met with cheers from onlookers. Remarkably, this was not her first skydiving adventure; she had taken her first leap from a plane at the age of 100.
Joe Conant is currently working to ensure that Guinness World Records posthumously certifies Hoffner as the world’s oldest skydiver, although the process may take some time. The current record holder is 103-year-old Linnéa Ingegärd Larsson of Sweden.
Importantly, Hoffner did not embark on her skydiving adventures to chase records or publicity. She simply relished the thrill of skydiving and wanted to experience it again.
Skydive Chicago and the United States Parachute Association expressed their sadness at Hoffner’s passing and celebrated her in a joint statement. They highlighted that she reminded everyone that it’s never too late to chase the thrill of a lifetime.
Dorothy Hoffner spent more than four decades as a telephone operator with Illinois Bell (later AT&T) before retiring 43 years ago. She was a lifelong Chicago resident, never married, and had no immediate family members.
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A memorial service to honor Hoffner’s life will be held in early November. Joe Conant, her dear friend, summed up her legacy as an inspirational figure who lived life to the fullest.