SEATTLE — At Skydive Snohomish, on a bluebird day, a birthday celebration took off.
For many, the nerves started early, but for one skydiver the excitement was building.
“I’ve wanted to do this for seven years,” said Beverly Witte, 94 years old and a Cogir Senior Living resident in Queen Anne.
Witte has done many things in her life, including spending 50 years as an employee of The Burke Museum. She worked for more than 20 years as a fossil preparer. She’s discovered remains of a Dinictis cat-like creature in South Dakota that was 35 million years old.
But she had never jumped out of a plane.
“Well, why not?” she asked.
Witte was not doing this for herself. She was skydiving for her best friend, Sally, who just turned 100 years old.
“One of the reasons I wanted to jump was for her birthday,” Witte said.
Life is too short not to celebrate in big fashion with a once-in-a-lifetime jump.
Before the big moment, Witte had to get suited up. After many belts, buckles and padding, she was ready to go.
“You look more and more like a skydiver,” instructor Vlad told her.
With the entire staff of Cogir Senior Living and her friends watching, Witte took the first step to her big jump. Her thumbs up signaled she was at peace in the plane.
Vlad prepared her for the free fall and minutes later, the crowd gathered at the airfield watched Witte free fall to the parachute deployment.
Swirling in the air, holding on tight, Witte made her descent. With two feet back on the ground, Witte was in awe.
Vlad asked, “Would you do that again?” Witte replied, “maybe.”
The welcome party was ready for her return and Witte was ready to celebrate with her best friend.
“Just really wanted to do something for Sally. We’ve been friends for a long time.”