104-Year-Old Skydiver Dies Days After Record-Breaking Jump

CHICAGO, Illinois — The adventurous spirit of Dorothy Hoffner, a 104-year-old Chicago resident who recently made headlines with her skydiving feat, was extinguished this week. Hoffner, who Guinness World Records could potentially recognize as the oldest person to skydive, was found deceased at her senior living community, Brookdale Lake View, on Monday.

Hoffner, known affectionately as “Grandma” by her close friend and nurse, Joe Conant, was a vibrant and energetic woman. Conant, who met Hoffner while working as a caregiver at the senior living center, described her as indefatigable and mentally sharp.

Hoffner’s daring skydive took place on October 1, when she leapt from a plane at 13,500 feet at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois. This was not her first skydiving experience; she had previously taken the plunge at the age of 100. Following her recent jump, Hoffner told the crowd that age was merely a number, a sentiment that clearly reflected her adventurous spirit.

Paperwork is being processed to have Hoffner posthumously certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest skydiver. The current record is held by Linnéa Ingegärd Larsson of Sweden, who skydived at the age of 103 in May 2022. However, Conant emphasized that Hoffner’s motivation to skydive was not to break records, but simply to experience the thrill of the jump once again.

Skydive Chicago and the United States Parachute Association released a joint statement expressing their sadness at Hoffner’s passing and their honor at having been part of her record-breaking skydive. They praised her adventurous spirit and her reminder that it’s never too late to pursue thrilling experiences.

Hoffner, a lifelong Chicago resident, worked as a telephone operator with Illinois Bell, which later became AT&T, for over four decades before retiring 43 years ago. She never married and had no immediate family members. A memorial service to celebrate her life and spirit is planned for early November.