Todd Jacobson loved skydiving more than anyone I've ever met. He truly was a skygod. Here's a list of some of his many accomplishments as a veteran of 17 years and 5200+ jumps:
1. 4-WAY RW: With team Gang Green, Todd won four gold medals in AAA class of the Northern Plains League (2002-2005), and competed at the 2002 U.S. Nationals (14th place out of 37 teams). In 2006, he jumped with team Wissota Shockers, earning a silver medal in AA class.
2. RATINGS: AFF I, S/L I, senior rigger, S & TA, videographer extrordinaire, private pilot.
3. WFFC LOAD ORGANIZER: He was an organizer at the World Freefall Convention for 10 glorious years. We used to joke that he had enough jumps in Quincy and Rantoul for his 1,000 jump gold wings. The lucky bastard also had 7 or 8 Boeing 727 jet jumps.
4. SPEED STAR: He was on the team that won the 10-way speed star competition every year at WFFC. Others filled their teams with ringers, but the team Todd jumped with was never beaten.
5. NIGHT: Todd had 50+ night jumps, including a CRW 3-stack.
6. NAKED: He had well over 50 naked jumps, including night, winter, and multi plane formations. He loved the shock value. He even organized a few nude 20-way loads at Quincy.
7. BASE: He had about 20 fixed-object jumps, all radio towers except for 2 Bridge Day leaps.
8. DEMOS: He was a perennial favorite on Bob Stumm's "A-team" for demonstration jumps into airshows, football and baseball games, and local schools.
9. HIGH WING LOADING: Todd loved small canopies. He had multiple jumps on a 69-square foot Xaos, and one on Craig's 63-sq Icarus.
10. Y2K: He did his 2,000th jump at midnight on New Year's Eve 2000--in the bitter Wiscosin cold.
The list goes on and on...Birdman, Mr. Bill, big ways, CRW, pond swooping. Todd aka Zipperhead was up for anything aeronautically related, anytime, anywhere. Blue skies, black death. Save me a spot by the fire, my friend. Time for a whiskey.
This is going to be the hardest post by far I have or will ever have to make. 37 hours ago I lost not only the love of my life, but my best friend. I am very lost, very lacking sleep and complete devistated. I'm at Todd's place (the hanger at the dz with the 2 C182 in the "backyard"), which was suppose to be our place sooner than later.
When Todd and I first started dating, he didn't have a phone (cell phone included). We didn't know about AIM or MSN Messenger, and we used to PM via dz.com each other "in real time" while I was at work and he was at home. Being the total sap that I am, I kept most of those PMs, and one day soon I'll have the strength to go back and read them. Being on dz.com is a sort of connection to him right now. He was a huge dz.com fan.
He was a huge skydiving fan. His obsession sometimes made me trying to keep our relationship and skydiving seperate difficult. The funny thing is that he ended up finding someone as into skydiving as him (well, almost as much as him). 75% of our conversations were around skydiving, whether it was about the "you're not going to believe this thread on dz.com", or "you have to see this tandem video I did tonight", or "is there anything I can do for you to your rig?", or "I'm still stoked about that four way we did this weekend".
Shortly after Todd and I got together, we had the all important "What if" conversation, at my bringing up. I knew that he would never, ever give up skydiving, and statisically, I probably wouldn't make past 1,001 jumps and 5 years in the sport. What if I stopped skydiving. By the time we had this conversation, I had become active in our club, helping with students and manifest and Saturday night dinners. I knew even if I stopped skydiving, I would love to continue to be around what had become my extended/skydiving family. He called "Deal!" on that. The second part was what if we didn't work out. We both agreed that we would need to still be friends (he was pretty much my best friend before we got together), and it not only needed to be okay for both of us to be there and not be ackward, but it needed to be okay and not ackward for the rest of our skydiving family.
Todd and I never had a real fight. We always joked about it. I can remember riding in his car with him in a blizzard with his shitty "high performace tires that I just had to have" (high performace for Florida, but zero traction in snow). We (and by we I mean me) were discussing the merits of his tires and his driving technique, and after about the sixth back and forth sentence, he blurted out "Is this our first fight???" Of course we both laughed and that was the end of that conversation. We may have gone over some road bumps along the way, but we never went to bed or said good night angry. If something was bothering either of us, it just brought up and worked out. It was how I always imagined the perfect relationship being.
Todd loved skydiving...period. He loved rigging, he loved flying, he loved videoing, instructing, coaching, competing and he loved showing people (including me) how to get that slippery POS in a bag the size of a roll of toilet paper. Every skydiver in this world has lost "one of the good ones" with Todd's passing. But for as much as he loved skydiving, there were two things he loved more than anything...his daughter and son.
Of course one of the proudest moments of his fatherhood just had to include skydiving. Skylar, Alex and Todd were on the boat on Lake Wissota, a mile or two from our dz. We have one airplane that is very loud, 76X. Todd and the kids were out on the boat one weekend day, and the dz was flying 76X. Skylar looked up to the sky and said, "Dad, if we keep flying 76X the neighbors are going to complain". I'm not sure if he was more proud of the fact that she recognized that it was 76X or the fact that she recognized the fact that 76X is a noisy bitch, but regardless, he was proud.
Todd also had a third "child", Jedei, his dog. In true skydiver fashion, Todd volunteered to take the last puppy of a liter at a WFFC, and in true skydiver fashion, named that dog after his canopy (he was jumping a Jedei 120 or 105 at the time). Most people think that Jedei is actually Jedi, named after Todd's love of Star Wars (more so the books, less so the movies).
Todd liked sci-fi stuff. Whenever we were on the phone and he seemed to have the attention span of a 1st grader, I always asked "Are you watching Battle Star Sea Gate Wars Galatica?" If it wasn't Star Wars, it was Seagate. If it wasn't Seagate, it was Battle Star Galactica, etc. He was a total geek, and not many people knew it. You truly have to love the one you're with when you don't get mad at getting bombarded in the head with missles from a toy Milennium Falcon at 6am on a Saturday.
Todd was also know for his off color t-shirts. One time he showed up at my office with his "I don't need a condom. The AIDS will kill the baby" t-shirt. I immediately made him turn it inside out and did the "Now babe, do you think that is appropriate for a professional working environment?" He was the master of answering a question with a question when he knew the answer but didn't want to admit to it. His response was "Well, I don't know. Do you think its inappropriate?" I didn't realize that Todd was famous for his t-shirts until we went to Skydive Iowa in May of this year for the first NPSL comp and the Jump Start Boogie. Chromy was the coach for that meet and about the second sentence out of Chromy's mouth was "Now Todd, let me see your t-shirt. Is it a good one?".
Todd flanted his strengths, and stressed over his weaknesses. This summer he got his AFF-I rating. He was so proud of that accomplishment, but I think I was prouder (even though we had to get over "our first (Beer!!) weekend apart). We only really offer S/L here at Wissota, and so he started trying to get in "the in" at Baldwin so he could use is rating. Our second to last conversation included a discussion about him trying to do too much with working at Baldwin, doing the rigging and mowing at Wissota, working his full time job, and keeping up with working out 4-5 times a week. I got accepted to the September Big Way camp in Perris and was struggling to come up with money (we had previous discussions about this). Thursday night he told me "After we get your big way camp figured out, I can use the money that I make at Baldwin to go back to Wissota and make more student jumps there." We at Wissota are a non-profit club dz. Instructors pay their own slot and don't get anything but the satisfaction knowing that we're contributing to this great sport, and more experienced jumpers to jump with, and eventually future coaches and instructors (something greater than money could ever buy). Todd never had enough money to do the amount of student jumps at Wissota that he wanted to do. It seemed terribly ironic that he was going to use profits from his AFFI jumps, to be able to jump with more students. If you could ask Todd about this, he'd give his usual response...."That's what I do".
There are a gazillion stories about Todd and what a great person he was. I would give up anything right now to have one last minute with him.
Sorry about any spelling or comprehension errors. I'm on my 47th hour of no sleep, and the ticker isn't going as well as it normally goes.
Todd--"I will always love you, childishly, 'cause you've got something."..BSBD Buppers.
Thank you Lynn that was amazing…you truly were able to show who Todd was to all the people who were not fortunate enough to know him. I was privileged to be one of Todd's students, a friend, and a teammate (wissota shockers). Todd always gave me crap for not posting on DZ.com so here it is for you buddy...it has been so long since I logged in my account was locked! Thanks for all the great times and teaching me so much! You are missed by so many people…we all love you! Blue skies forever!
It portrays is the cheesy grin he always had after landingmost of the time I ever saw him!...
(It's like Todd was embarrassed to have people see that he was having fun.)
This is a major blow to my memories of the great times we had as the Convention Load Organizers at the WFFC.
What I would like you all to do is to look through Todd's posts on dropzone.com. I bet you will find that well over half of them involve messages related to him paying it forward to less experienced jumpers.
That's what he did at the WFFC (and evidently what he did everywhere), and that is how we will remember him!
(This post was edited by peek on Aug 10, 2008, 7:54 PM)
I thought this one was funny. Post: Anything I have to see in Milwaukee? Todd's reply: You can always go find the ACE hardware store where Jeffery Dahmer got all his supplies. East Troy is just outside town to the south west and is a great dropzone.
Those two things should be good for a couple days anyway.
I am so sorry for everyone's loss. L.O pm'd me several times over the last year and was great encouragement. He will truly be missed....I am so sad for everyone's loss - especially those who were close to him.
I remember the first time I met you at Joe's helicopter boogie. I was pressed for time and having trouble getting a slippery canopy into the deployment bag. You jumped right in and packed it so that I could make the last load.
Blue Skies Todd. I remember that 12-way zipper we pulled off the back of the C130 at Quincy. Your organization skills in the dirt dive made the dive easy. It worked out great in the air and was a lot of fun.
My condolences also go out to Todd's friends and family.
Thankz, Lynn for those awsome memories of Todd. That took a lot of courage. We love you here in Superior. Todd came up to Superior after he and Nick got thier AFF ratings. I was privleged to jump with Todd on his first real student AFF jump. I have done at least a thousand AFF's, and let me say he handeled it like a vetran jumpmaster. He was stoked. I didn't tell him how good he did I didn't want it to go to his head, seeing it was his first in all. I did however remind him about the beer..... "He was more than a friend to all those around him”. We're heartbroken that he has died so young, I know there are so many people that have benefited from his life in the skydiving community."
He was a person that listened when you talked to him. A guy that cared about what you had to say. A truly classy person and a real pleasure to be around. My heart goes out to all his skydiving families. It feel’s as if a knife has been stabbed into our own hearts. We will miss you at Skydive Superior!
Our sincerest condolences to the Jacobson family
Blue skyz my friend. My son jack still calls you “Joe Cool”
Thank you Lynn, you helped bring up some happy memories of Todd with your very personal stories and feelings. Thank you Eric for sharing his accomplishments with us and you were lucky to be a part of some of them.
Some of my favorite memories of Todd are having him show up at the DZ with his special contacts that whitened out the iris in his eyes. There always seemed to be a little glow of happy mischief around him the entire day when he knew that strangers were looking at him funny. Other things that Todd did that really made me smile were just the little things: He would look at the pack job he did on my reserve and just gloat. "Look at that pack job" he would say, then he would come up and massage my rig like it was a living thing, and the very act of massaging my rig would seem to give him some strange orgasmic pleasure. I would always be on the verge of a gut busting laughter in those moments. Watching him pack so carefully and take such simple pleasure in how good of a job he did was always fun. He would look over at my pack jobs and just shake his head. Then he'd get up and instruct me "again" with a sigh. Todd was one of the few people I could trust coming within inches of me in the landing area and know that he was truly in control of his canopy. His piloting skills were very strong and it was fun to watch him. The last time I saw Todd was at the Pumpkin Toss last year. I was busy that weekend getting some shots for class and needed some skydiving footage. He took me back to the hangar and handed me some tapes. "keep them for as long as you need them" he told me. I never got a chance to tell him how much they helped, and I don't know if he ever got a chance to see how I used all his footage. And I never got a chance to personally thank him. I did get one thing that weekend that I will treasure, footage of him receiving his award for jump numbers; I don't remember specifically how many jumps the award was for at the moment. I will try to find some time this week to put together all that footage and hopefully share it at Baldwin on Thursday if I can cut away from my busy life for a moment. I did not find out the news until this morning when I checked my email, and I'm now sitting in class unable to pay attention and thinking of a good friend that will be sorely missed. Blue Skies Todd. See you around the campfire. To all that were touched by Todd's life, my heart truly goes out to all of you.
Todd I will miss you. We had some great talks over the years about kids!! You always took time to say hi to my boys and ask me about them. You were a kind, fun, positive person that will be terribly missed. My heart goes out to your family.
Gang Green, and everyone in Wissota Falls: we're thinking of you.
Todd was one of the most relentlessly positive people I know. I first met him on his first trip to the Convention, when he joined my organised dives and lied about his number of jumps. He flew well, I didn't cut him, and he only told me years later.
We had 5 consecutive Convention speed-star titles out of the 727 (last once might have been a high-speed Casa) with Todd last in the lineup. Good times.
His dear children, Lynn, all of Wissota/Gang Green, and Baldwin: what a tragic loss. My heart weeps for all of you.
You are a great family at Wissota. That's how us small DZ's keep going. Family. Family that I know is hurting more than words could ever describe. Todd was Wissota.
Lynn and Todd let us stay with them a few weeks ago for a CRW camp Jim and I came up for. Two of the sweetest people I've ever known. Thanks for letting us stay in your home with the beautiful Cessnas in the garage.
I'm glad Todd got in on some CRW recently, since he was very good at it. He treated us as family, was a wealth of information, and always kept everyone laughing.
Yeah, we lost a "good one". This season has sucked & this one hits hard, and so close to home and our hearts, it's overwhelming. My sincere condolences to his children & Lynnie.
Aw, Lynn, I wish I could hold you and make it all better, I really, really do. I'm so sorry sweetie. The world has once again been robbed and seems emptier.
He was a good soul. We miss you, and will never, ever forget you. Thanks Todd for being you, and someone I wish more people were like. You had the attitude that I aspire to have for this sport, and have given so much to it, thank you.
You've not only won alot in this sport, but you've won over everyone that's ever met you...and we are better people for that. This isn't fair, it never is. Hug the people around you a little longer... a lot longer.
I can't get my shots I have of him to upload on here right now. I'm pretty scrambled in the head, so I'll try again later.
Love and Blue Skies Always, April & Jim
(This post was edited by Madison on Aug 11, 2008, 2:57 PM)
I thought I'd share some more memories and stories of Todd. There's been quite a bit of story telling in the last couple of days and its been rather theraputic for me, so here goes...
Todd did all the mowing at our dz (well, most of it anyway). I could always tell that he had been mowing during the week when I would show up on Friday afternoon and he would be sunburned from his shorts line to the top of his knees. One weekend clouds were low and Todd decided to finish up what he didn't get done during the week. I see him go over to his locker and pull out his jumpsuit and Factory Diver. The next thing I know Todd is riding around on the tracker with his jumpsuit and Factory Diver on so he wouldn't get anymore sunburned that he already was. Any normal person would have just grabbed sunscreen. But Todd was far (very far) from normal.
This last New Year's eve I came down with the flu (and no, it wasn't the bottle flu). We were in the middle of a Road Show (bar hopping on the Gang Green bus) when I started to really get sick. While everyone was in the bar having a good time, Todd sat with me on the bus the entire rest of the Road Show. I instisted that he go in, join the others and have a good time, that there was no sense in both of us to have a crappy night. He wouldn't leave and told me that there was no other place that he'd have rather been at that moment. The stroke of midnight came and after a short discussion on who's watch was the right time, he leaned over to kiss me. I reminded him that I had been puking my guts out the last hour and a half and he replied, "I don't care. Kiss me. It's New Years.
We had a newer jumper that had a pilot chute in tow on his first jump on his new-to-him rig. Ryan lost his freebag/pilot chute, his reserve handle and maybe his cutaway handle too (I can't remember). Todd ordered in new parts and it came to a couple of hundred dollars. Todd and I talked about it the week everything came in and Todd was flored that this jumper, who just spent all this money on his first rig was having to dish out a crap load of money after one jump. Todd told me that he wasn't going to be able to live with himself if he added the cost of a reserve pack job on top of that. So Todd packed it for free.
Todd worked out 4-5 days a week, and it was a good thing because his eating habits were horrible. Every Monday morning he'd go down to the clubhouse and check to see how many frozen pizzas were left from the week that he was going to get to eat during the week. He loved pizza and often talked about how there was no bad time to eat pizza. Everytime we went out to eat someplace, he's always order his meal and then ask the server to bring him a piece of apple pie, right away, before his meal. He'd often stop at the corner grocery store and buy an apple pie off the day old rack and eat the whole thing and never cut a piece. He is the only person that I have ever known that takes his pizza out of the oven and puts it in the freezer to cool down, and takes his freezy pops out of the freezer and puts them in the microwave to warm them up. I went to secure his car at Baldwin on Friday night, and there in the back seat was a partially eaten 16" apple pie and a used plastic fork. I guarentee that he sat with that apple pie on his lap and ate it as he drove to Baldwin that morning. At some point this weekend someone opened the microwave to use it and inside were about 8 freezy pops that he had forgot about.