Geoff Jay marks 90th birthday with skydiving adventure
To celebrate his 90th birthday, Geoff Jay wanted to do a little something different.
Blowing out flickering candles on a traditional two-layered cake surrounded by family and friends just didn’t seem to cut it (pun intended) as a means of marking the momentous occasion.
So instead, Geoff headed up to Skydive SWOOP on Highway 5, donned a blue jumpsuit and helmet, and was harnessed to a parachute. He travelled 10,500 feet up into an azure blue sky in a single-engine propeller-powered plane.
“I wanted to prove I could still do something a little out of the ordinary,” said Geoff.
“It was awesome, great, fantastic. I don’t need to do it again, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for the past couple of years.”
About 30 family members and friends gathered on the ground to watch Geoff achieve his goal of skydiving, including daughter Joy-Anne Coomber.
“I kept looking up in the sky in anticipation,” said Joy. “When I spotted my dad with his colourful chute open, all I could think about was, he did it. I was very happy for him and proud that he accomplished what he set out to do.”
Joy said her father started talking about skydiving a couple of years ago at the tender age of 88.
Geoff’s doctors gave the thumbs up to his plan, as did his orthopedic surgeon. SWOOP was called to organize the date, time and a pre-assessment. Not surprisingly, they had never accommodated a 90-year-old jumper before.
On Aug. 24, five days after his actual birthday, Geoff and his 25-year-old granddaughter Brittany both completed a jump.
“You feel so free,” said Geoff of the experience. “It is absolute quiet. It’s a real different world up there. It’s really a wonderful feeling that you wish could last a lot longer.”
Did the nerves kick in, not even just a little?
“I was not at all nervous. I just wanted to do it, and I did it,” said Geoff.
What is the active nonagenarian planning for an encore, in 2014, when he turns 91 years of age?
“I’m the oldest living male member of the family, so I think I will just celebrate being 91,” he said.
Geoff, who served for five years in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, came to Canada with his wife, Marjorie, in 1954 from Manchester, England. The day after arriving in Dundas, Geoff got himself a job at Westinghouse. The Jays have two children, Joy-Anne and Bradley, and five grandchildren — Jason and Brittany Coomber and Tiffany, Nicole and Allan Jay.
On Sept. 13, the pair will mark another milestone — 61 years of marriage.