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In Memory of Josh Whipple

 

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ltdiver  (D 20506)

Feb 11, 2005, 8:15 PM
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In Memory of Josh Whipple Can't Post

I just got a phone call from a dear friend who skydives at Snohomish, WA. One of our friends there took his life this week. He did not do it skydiving. He chose another way.

http://groups.msn.com/...1&ID_Message=975

My condolences to his friends and family. I'm grieving here with you.

Life and friends are precious. Hold on to one other.

ltdiver


freeflir29  (D 10000000)

Feb 11, 2005, 8:21 PM
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Re: [ltdiver] In Memory of Josh Whipple [In reply to] Can't Post

GGRRRRRRRRRRR! That shit pisses me offMad


weegegirl  (D License)

Feb 11, 2005, 8:22 PM
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Re: [ltdiver] In Memory of Josh Whipple [In reply to] Can't Post

Blue skies, bro. Too sad.


karenmeal  (D 24737)

Feb 11, 2005, 9:57 PM
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We had a little candlelight thing tonight in Josh's memory. Shared some of our stories about Josh and leaned on eachother. Its still such a shock and we're all a bit numb.

Right now I just feel sorry that Josh had to go feeling so alone. He was so loved by everyone that knew him. That guy had a heart of solid gold. One of the finest people that I've ever had the pleasure of being friends with.

His memorial service isn't planned yet, but if anyone wants to send me a message I will get the information to you when it's all planned out.

Everyone go hug your friends and tell them you love them.


-Karen


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Feb 11, 2005, 10:04 PM
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  My wife and I knew Josh for a long time, way back to his Navy days and before he got married. I had hardly seen him, though, in the past year. I'm sorry to think that he could forget that so many people cared about him and would have done anything to help him.

Not too long ago, there was a base jump in Seattle where one of the jumpers got hung up. Josh stuck around to get arrested to help that guy. He always was a good guy, someone you could count on. Our hearts go out to his family. His death is a real loss.


Premier NWFlyer  (D 29960)

Feb 11, 2005, 10:07 PM
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Re: [karenmeal] In Memory of Josh Whipple [In reply to] Can't Post

As I told the folks at Snohomish tonight, I didn't get all that much time to get to know Josh, but I will cherish the time I did have. He was one who really went out of his way to welcome me to Snohomish and to the skydiving community, and as evidenced by his posts on here (he posted as 3ringheathen), never met a debate he didn't like (and rarely met one he couldn't win - he had a mind that could outhink most anyone.)

Heart of gold doesn't even begin to describe it - he had an outlook on life that always made me think. We will all miss him.

May you find the peace you were seeking, Josh.


(This post was edited by NWFlyer on Feb 11, 2005, 10:09 PM)


ACMESkydiver  (B License)

Feb 11, 2005, 10:28 PM
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Re: [karenmeal] In Memory of Josh Whipple [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
We had a little candlelight thing tonight in Josh's memory. Shared some of our stories about Josh and leaned on eachother. Its still such a shock and we're all a bit numb.

Right now I just feel sorry that Josh had to go feeling so alone. He was so loved by everyone that knew him. That guy had a heart of solid gold. One of the finest people that I've ever had the pleasure of being friends with.

...

Everyone go hug your friends and tell them you love them.


-Karen

What she said. I have nothing further. Think I'll sleep for two days.


Michele  (B 26874)

Feb 11, 2005, 10:31 PM
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Godspeed and blessed be, Josh. I only knew you through this site, but I wish you had reached out, even though I understand why you couldn't. I've been where you were, as recently as last year.

My deepest, heartfelt condolences to all who knew and loved him.

Damned depression anyway.

Look. If anyone needs to talk, I'm here. I understand, because I've been on the edge of the abyss for so long. If you need to talk...please just reach out one more time.

Ciels-
Michele


diablopilot  (D License)

Feb 11, 2005, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Everyone go hug your friends and tell them you love them.

Always sound advice.


Josh, Blue Skies................


-jp-


ACMESkydiver  (B License)

Feb 11, 2005, 11:01 PM
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Re: [karenmeal] In Memory of Josh Whipple [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's a couple of pics Gui took at the gathering tonight and e-mailed me; my camera phone wasn't taking very clear pics at all. Crazy

The first was on the counter, the second was looking down on the floor surrounding a candle.
Attachments: JoshPicsSm.JPG (91.9 KB)
  20050211 19 58 39 JoshPics2.JPG (99.5 KB)


Premier NWFlyer  (D 29960)

Feb 11, 2005, 11:03 PM
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Re: [ACMESkydiver] In Memory of Josh Whipple [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Here's a couple of pics Gui took at the gathering tonight and e-mailed me; my camera phone wasn't taking very clear pics at all. Crazy

The first was on the counter, the second was looking down on the floor surrounding a candle.

Leaving the beer there was a nice touch. Josh would approve.


mnealtx  (B 30496)

Feb 11, 2005, 11:06 PM
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Ah, crap...... blue skies, brother.... save us a beer, we'll be along eventually... Frown


Amazon  (D License)

Feb 11, 2005, 11:38 PM
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Re: [ltdiver] In Memory of Josh Whipple [In reply to] Can't Post

I just got a PM about this.. Its so very sad. Josh was a really good guy and always willing to help others.
Rest in Peace Josh.. you will be really missed by oh so manyFrown


Chrissay  (D License)

Feb 12, 2005, 5:40 AM
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My condolences go out the his friends and family. I never got the opportunity to actually meet Josh, but knew of him through the Seattle gang. Hang in there Seattle gang. Blue skie, Josh.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Feb 12, 2005, 8:33 AM
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Damn!
Josh was always so cheerful when I jumped with him in Sonohomish in 1998 and 1999.
Josh was also cheerful and candid when we chatted again in Perris a couple of years later.
I wonder what was eating him?

Crying on my keyboard.


sunshine  (D License)

Feb 12, 2005, 8:38 AM
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Whatever pain he was feeling is gone now. Fly free forever Josh.


SkyDolphin  (A 31244)

Feb 12, 2005, 9:34 AM
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I've been friends with Josh with many years. He was an extremely caring and giving man and a hell of a lot of fun at parties. I am still in shock. I knew he was in pain and I knew all the reasons but I never thought his pain was this deep. I can't help but think that somehow I/we missed the signs. I'm sorry Josh. I wish I could have done more to help you get through the pain. I will always love you man.

Blue skies

Rhonda


DexterBase  (D 29697)

Feb 12, 2005, 9:42 AM
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The Seattle BASE community is really feeling this one.

We just had dinner with Josh the other night and he seemed to be doing well. He had hopes for the future and talked of projects he'd like to work on.

I miss him already.

Josh, brother, we'll see each other again I know it. Until then, keep an eye on us at the local BASE objects. I know you'll be with us there at the exit point, always.

Until then dude...Unsure


KMonster

Feb 12, 2005, 9:53 AM
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Josh was one of the good ones. He is already missed dearly. I just wish that he would have known how many lives he would touch by ending his life. He would have known how many people care about him and maybe he wouldn't have felt so alone. It breaks my heart that he could have been so sad, he of all people never deserved to feel that way. I'm glad i got to spend at least one more night hanging out with him. Fly free brother.


sdctlc  (D 16437)

Feb 12, 2005, 11:21 AM
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I am shocked and saddened.... really not much to say as words dont really say it. I hope that he found the peace he was aparantly looking for. That said though, I in no way feel that his choice is a true option, ever... wow..... all that comes to mind as I shake my head......

Condolences to all,
Scott Callantine


SkyDaemon  (D 28704)

Feb 12, 2005, 1:33 PM
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It's a shame that we tend to celebrate the memory of a person after they have departed rather than during their time with us. It's amazing how much respect and admiration we can hold for our friends and yet remain silent and not tell them. It's sad that we're quick to voice the things we wish people would change, but we're very reluctant to tell our friends how much they really mean to us, and how tragic it would be if they ever left. We should tell them...

I just learned of Josh's death and I miss him already. Lj and I just had a great evening with Josh a week ago Monday and we had a fun time walking up and down the streets of Seattle, having dinner, coffee, and cigars. We exchanged a few emails and he seemed to be taking a little longer to reply than usual, I tried to contact him on Tuesday with no luck... and it was this morning I read this thread.

Josh wasn't simply a skydiver, or a BASE jumper or someone who sought pleasure through adrenaline or flight. Josh was an artist, he was someone who saw and created beauty. He saw the awesome achievement in human flight, and sillyness of making a sport of our a life and death situation. One of his favorite aspects of skydiving was doing tandem videos and, handing a tandem student who had overcome their fears of jumping, a creative summary of their experience. Josh found ways to celebrate their achievement and in doing so, he saw the world as a richer place. He could see his contribution to the lives of others. He was a steward of the world, and never uttered the cliche "treat others as you would have them treat you" instead: he lived it.

Josh saw the best in things. I remember my first BASE jump with him, it was on a local mountain which involved a multi-hour (how many hours, was dependent upon one's level of physical fitness), off trail hike. He had done the jump a few times before, and this was my first time off this particular object. There were five of us, and the mountain goat hikers took off and Josh and I lagged behind and got to know one another. We talked about how nice the woods were, our early hiking experiences, what our next career moves would be, why we skydived, why we BASE jumped. As we got lost in conversation, we also got lost on the mountain. We both laughed, at the point we realized we had no idea where we were, but the general direction of where were trying to go was "thataway". We trudged up what must have been a 70 degree slope, and finally got back on the trail. We had successful jumps together and landed in our campsite. Almost immediately upon landing Josh ran into his tent and emerged with a smile on his face and a small 'keg' of beer in his hands. He'd hiked that thing down the campsite (almost two miles) for us all to share.

Josh's ability to see the best in things was impressive. He was an exceptionally skilled handyman, and his analytical mind would diagnose the problem, find a solution and a way to improve it while he was at it. He could look a box of nails, a cabinet full of tools and a pile of wood and see something useful... he just needed to put a little work into it. This skill made him a very skilled construction worker, and this attitude made him an awesome friend. He could see the potential in people, he could see what they had, where they wanted to go, and just as he was with mortar and wood, he was a craftsman with people. He could lay his hands on another person's life and create beauty. Much like Michealangelo who claimed "the sculpture was in the marble, I just removed the extra pieces." Josh would see the impressive sculpture in those around him, and just remove the extra pieces, that were in the way. Josh made people's colors brighter, his welcoming attitude brought flavor to their wine (beer) and made outsiders feel like part of the gang.

Josh was the kind of person who would go behind your back and do something nice for you and never tell you he did it. He didn't ask for fame, fortune, or even a "thank you". He lived his life as he believed it should be lived. He didn't ask for pity, charity, or anything he didn't earn. Josh was a generous person, with a heart as big as all outdoors. If you had a $1 and he had $5 and the two of you needed to get lunch, he'd say "Well, we have six dollars, let's see what we can get".

Josh took care of people. He didn't take care of people because he expected any reward for it, he took care of people because he knew it was the right thing to do. He took care of his parents during hard times in their lives, and towards the end he was taking care of his great aunt's estate. He took care of his friends, and even those he didn't know very well. Josh was just as comfortable in a supporting role as he was being the star of the show. When he in a supporting role he supported as best someone ever could support. He never felt bad about being out of the spotlight. He knew behind every star there's a solid support structure, and he knew how be that support structure better than most.

Josh was an amazingly intelligent person. As one walks through the maze of life they encounter other people and the general feeling is that one can't tell if the other person is more and less intelligent than oneself, but there are a few rare gems in the world where it's obvious that you are standing in the presence of brilliance. Josh was one of those rare gems who exuded a calming sense of intellect and understanding of himself and those around him. He was a perpetual student, always learning, and always interested in the world around him. In my own cynical little mentality I believe "those who are bored, tend to be boring". I think that because those who are bored fail to take interest in anything around them, which means they offer very little which is interesting. Josh was the opposite, he could take interest in anything. He came down to visit once for a 'BASE weekend' we were going to tear up the town, do BASE in a day, get him his "B" and have a great time. Turns out the weather went to hell, so we changed plans. It was the weekend all the wineries in Oregon were doing their big open house and I suggested we go check it out. Josh got excited and said something profound "The point of BASE jumping is to experience new things, and to try things I haven't tried before. I've never been a winery, I don't know much about it, and I've always wondered how it all works. Let's go!". We piled in the car, drove down and had a great time, returned to the house and enjoyed a llama roast (grilled with onions, shallots, garlic, and red bell peppers and topped with a white wine sauce.). Josh knew how to see the best in the situation, he was willing and excited to try new things and adapt to change. He saw an opportunity where others would have seen a failure.

Josh was all about respect. He was a gentleman through and through. Josh went out of his to demonstrate respect for people, their friendship, their hospitality, and their kindness. He was sensitive to the needs and desires of others, he was always willing to adapt to customs and rituals different than his own, and he took his interactions with others seriously. He knew how to have a good time, but he didn't need to insult others, or himself to do it. He could smile and make others smile by appreciating and building up rather than by tearing down. He was a construction worker, and I think that played a role in his life. He liked to see things be built up, so they would last, rather than torn down. He took pride in his work, and without ego would share his knowledge and experience with others. He was willing to listen to other people, to learn from them. He knew that he could learn from anyone and extended them the respect you would any teacher.

Josh was empathetic. Josh had a sense of self-understanding and understanding of others so deep I'll never be able to completely fathom it. Many of our conversations were about psychology and what it means to be who we are. One night we walked for ovr 9 hours, with occassional stops in cafes discussing epistemology, psychology, ontology how we came to be who we are, and how we adapted. Josh knew who he was, and he knew what didn't work well, and what worked very well. He knew what problems he was addressing, which ones he was ignoring, and how everything worked together. He administered his own cognitive therapy, and was simultaneously on the counselors couch and in the counselors chair. He could switch between roles in the blink of an eye in ways that made perfect sense.

Josh was patient. As I write these words, I'm reading a letter he sent me on Feb 3rd. As I read his words I can still hear his voice. His calm, rational, confident voice that was always even keel, always in control, which always sounded like the voice of reason, or wisdom. He was patient, he knew how to handle life at life's speed. He understood that sometimes he needed more time to do what he wanted/needed to do. He went back to school and earned his degree in psychology when he was in his 30s. He was going to go back to pursue more of his academic interests. He knew how to be patient.

Josh and I talked about some of the hardships he endured. 2004 was a rough year for him which involved the loss of his wife, his house, his job, and his father. Most psychologists agree the loss of any one of those is a tragedy that is difficult to come to terms with, let alone the loss of all four. We talked about the loss of them all, and he was just starting to come to terms with it. His employment search was coming along well, he was going to move into a new place, he was even starting to ask girls on dates again. I was really proud of him and how well he was handling what must have been intense pain and misery. He coped with it, and he was rebuilding his life.


I don't think Josh felt "alone" in asmuch as he didn't have anyone near him who cared for him. I think he knew he had many great friends who loved (philos) him dearly. But there are many different ways to be alone...

You can be alone in a closet
You can be alone in an empty auditorium
You can be alone in a crowd
And you can be alone in a group of friends.

For those of you who knew Josh, I'm going to share some excerpts from the last email I received from him. I think it will give you some understanding of where he was during the last week of his life:

Quote:
As usual, it is I that should be thanking you. You've been generous to me in many ways.
It's been a very odd period for me. Given what's happened lately, I'm coping fairly well, but it's still a struggle. I cycle fairly rapidly and unexpectedly between periods of optimism and despair, with periods of numbness in between. Fortunately, the deeply depressive bits are just that: bits. They tend to last mostly for minutes to hours. Hardly the stuff that crisis are made of.
Anyway, I often want to share what I'm feeling with friends but hold back. I'm afraid that they'll feel some pressure to solve my problems for me, and that they'll feel guilty if they can't make it all better. Of course, they can't make it all better, that's up to me and father time. So I act like everything is hunky dory, and it's not. I'm fairly certain that you understand that, so I feel comfortable sharing things with you that I don't with most others. I'm not looking for answers, I just need to vent I guess.

There's a well known phenomenon in psych: various states of arousal or moods, tend to potentiate memories of past events and interpretations of current ones that evoke similar moods. Thus when one is happy, they remember and react to things in happy or at least a generally positve manner. When one is unhappy, the reverse is true.
Understanding this has been a tremendously helpfull lately. I start to get caught up in these mental pitfalls, but recognize them and break the cycle.

I'll definitely stop by on my way south. I enjoy your company, you're both outstanding hosts and good people. Hopefully there will be something useful I can contribute to the home improvement project, though you guys seem universally skilled and I'm not sure what I can offer that you probably haven't already figured out for yourselves. I'm tempted to offer to do your brakes, but though I've walked through it with a friend on several vehicles lately, I still can't claim expertise! ;-)


As for the vacation itself, I'm actually terrified that I won't enjoy it. What then? This is sort of a rhetorical question, though I've lost a bit of sleep over the prospect of making this road trip and coming back no closer to general happiness than when I Ieft.

There were some personal bits in his letter that I won't post publically, but if you knew him and want to talk I'm at 503 720 0892.

I think Josh felt alone as the only person who could address/solve his own problems. In that sense he felt alone and as though his friends' input couldn't help him. It would be as though all your English only speaking friends wanted to help prepare you for a test in French.

It's a shame Josh is gone, and I hope after reading the above you wish you'd known him. You wished there was a Josh in your life. His spirit is alive, his spirit of optimism, patience, and respect is alive and well. He gave a part of it to me, and to many others. I sincerely hope that you will look carefully at your friends tomorrow and feel that flame in your heart and mind which warms you and realize that your friends are what makes your life warm. The friendships you have and the gifts those people bring you are what shapes you as a person. I hope you realize that what you say, and what you don't say, affects your friends. Your words and actions communicate loudly to your friends what they mean to you. Never, ever, take them from granted, because one day you may wake up to find out they're gone. You may wake up to find the plans and goals you had for one another, and the team may be impossible.

Josh was a friend... and he'll always be here. (On the bright side we won't have to make as many pits stops. <attempt at a joke to lighten the mood>.)

I miss him already.

-=Raistlin


(This post was edited by SkyDaemon on Feb 12, 2005, 1:35 PM)


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Feb 12, 2005, 1:51 PM
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Re: [ltdiver] In Memory of Josh Whipple [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's a pic of Josh a few years back, wearing a tie! L. to R. is me, my wife Valinda, Josh, and his date. It was a cool little charity function and we all had a good time. . . . I wish Josh could have just looked harder into the future and not made such a bad choice. . . . . What a crying shame.

John


(This post was edited by skymama on Feb 14, 2005, 4:32 AM)


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Feb 12, 2005, 8:52 PM
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Re: [JohnMitchell] In Memory of Josh Whipple [In reply to] Can't Post

Replying to my last post, I apologize. I've got the wrong Josh in the picture. So sorry, especially at a time like this. I'm unable to access the delete feature, but I'll keep trying.


FLYBERT71  (D 1971)

Feb 12, 2005, 10:24 PM
Post #24 of 145 (11263 views)
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Re: [ltdiver] In Memory of Josh Whipple [In reply to] Can't Post

I wish that this was just a nightmare that we could wake up from. But we can't.
Blue skies my friend. Until we meet again.


TVPB  (F 666)

Feb 13, 2005, 4:06 AM
Post #25 of 145 (11194 views)
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Re: [SkyDaemon] In Memory of Josh Whipple [In reply to] Can't Post

Powerful words. Well spoken. Its wonderful to know that people like Josh exist and that you appreciated his positive aspects. There are many people who should take note.

Condolences on your loss. But remember that you have gained more than you could ever possibly lose.

Keep your chin up.

Smile

p.s. bottling feelings builds intense pressure. Venting is very important for healing and reducing the pressure. However, this is easy to say without living in an individuals situation.


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