Jacque Wallace poses for photos taken by her family before she skydives for the first time at 80 years old. Her niece, nephew, and niece’s cousin also joined. ALIYA HALL/CRESWELL CHRONICLE
Ever since Jacque Wallace’s husband died, she said she has been doing as much as she can. The latest thing on her list: On the bright, summer morning of Aug. 18, at the prime age of 80 years old, Wallace went skydiving with her family.
”My niece, Kim, always was doing everything spectacular and wonderful,” Wallace said. ”She and her youngest daughter skydived in Alabama, and I said to her I always wanted to do that.”
Kim Owens decided to fly back to the West Coast from Alabama and skydive with her aunt. Her cousins Kathy Middaugh and Jeff Hogan also joined the group – neither one had skydived before.
”I think it will be quite the rush,” Hogan said. ”I’m 50, and I always wanted to do this.”
The four of them had a reception of friends and family to watch them. They brought camping chairs, covers and donuts to enjoy.
Wallace, who is from Cottage Grove, said that she was feeling fine beforehand, even though she didn’t know what to expect.
”It’s my 80th year and I’m going to do things I wouldn’t have done otherwise,” she said.
Mark Ball, co-owner of Eugene Skydivers, explained the process and said that the group will jump out at 10,000 feet and free fall for around 3,500 feet before opening the parachute. Afrika Ball, co-owner of Eugene Skydivers, said the whole process, including training, takes anywhere from two to four hours normally.
The night before, Wallace said she had a vision of jumping from a yellow airplane, and she hoped that would be the case in reality – it was.
Wallace and Owens jumped first, their parachutes blue and yellow, and red, white and blue, respectively.
This was Owens’ third time skydiving.
Afrika Ball said that Wallace is not the only skydiver in their 80s that Eugene Skydivers has had, but she said regardless of age, it’s a good time.
”We love to have anyone come out, whether they are 85 or 18,” she said.
After the experience, Wallace was welcomed back by her friends and family, and she had a smile on her face.
”It was great,” she told them. ”I’d do it again in a minute.”
Mark Ball joked that she practically pulled him out of the plane, she was so excited.
Wallace said the hardest part was putting her feet on the plane’s tire before the jump, because the wind kept knocking it off.
”It was really fun, and I wasn’t scared at all,” she said.