Dorothy Hoffner, a 104-year-old resident of Chicago, known for her adventurous spirit and recent skydiving accomplishment, passed away this week. Hoffner, who could potentially be recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest person to skydive, was found deceased at her senior living community, Brookdale Lake View, on Monday.
Hoffner, fondly referred to as “Grandma” by her close friend and nurse, Joe Conant, was a lively and energetic woman. Conant, who got acquainted with Hoffner while working as a caregiver at the senior living center, portrayed her as tireless and mentally agile.
Hoffner’s audacious skydive occurred on October 1, when she jumped from a plane at 13,500 feet at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois. This wasn’t her first skydiving experience; she had previously taken the leap at the age of 100. After her recent jump, Hoffner expressed to the crowd that age was just a number, a statement that truly embodied her adventurous spirit.
Efforts are underway 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 stressed that Hoffner’s motivation to skydive was not to break records, but simply to relive the exhilaration of the jump.
Skydive Chicago and the United States Parachute Association issued a joint statement expressing their sorrow at Hoffner’s passing and their privilege at having been part of her record-breaking skydive. They lauded her adventurous spirit and her reminder that it’s never too late to chase thrilling experiences.
Hoffner, a lifelong Chicago resident, served 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 honor her life and spirit is scheduled for early November.