75-year-old skydives for first time
Bob Billhimer proved Tuesday that it’s never too late to accomplish a lifelong dream.
With his children and grandchildren grown and a successful career in technical magazine production behind him, he decided that he’d commemorate his 75th birthday with a 13,000-foot adventure– skydiving.
“I always wanted to do it, but I figured you might die,” Billhimer said. “I basically did it because I have always wanted to do it and I have had a full life.”
Billhimer said finding out an invasive cancer he beat a few years ago was back prompted him to take the risk even more.
“I always wanted to realize that sensation because I have always enjoyed those adventure rides,” Billhimer said.
He made his flight and descent at the Parachute Center in Lodi on Tuesday. He said out of the 30 people going up on the flight, he was the only one trying it for the first time. Despite rattling nerves just before the jump, Billhimer said with his parachute packed, it was time to take a leap of faith.
“That was a rush and we free-falled for 55 seconds,” Billhimer said. “After that, it was like peace on Earth floating up there.”
After the five-minute descent was over, he said his legs felt like jelly as his feet touched solid ground. Seeing his wife Maureen Denton-Billhimer was a special moment, too, he added.
“When I saw her, I got all mushed up and started crying,” Billhimer said. “I fulfilled something in life that I have always wanted to do, and I have fulfilled a lot of them.”
Watching her husband accomplish a lifelong dream was nerve-wracking and exciting, Maureen said. After a few nerve-wracking minutes of losing sight of the plane as it climbed in elevation, she was relieved to see him making his descent.
“When he hit the ground I just couldn’t believe it. It was just so exciting,” Maureen said. “He had his arms wide-open and he started sobbing. He just said ‘it was magical, it was just magical.’ He was just in a different world.”
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