You were well loved by so many of us Skip. Always fun to jump with no matter how crappy it went. Your "at least we got some air" attitude will be missed. I still can't believe this happened. Damn Damn Damn Make sure you get to organizing some all KS zoo loads for us in heaven. BS ~Ruby
Blue skies, Skip. I enjoyed seeing and talking with you at the various boogies in the Midwest - most recently at Dollar Daze - and one's all the way back to the old Kingman days. Thanks for being such a great person. Fly free, my friend.
Skip was truly one of the great ones in the sport......a great guy to jump with, a classic history going back to the days of round canopies and chest reserves, a willingness to try and learn new discipliines, and an infectious enthusiasm for everyone, especially novices and beginners. You could hardly jump with a more fun loving guy than Skip.
Skip had a heart of solid gold and a willingness to share it with everyone. He's performed a million acts of kindness that we don't even know about.
There was a huge turnout this past weekend for Skip's funeral in Wichita.....lots of skydivers from the past several decades, some of whom don't even jump anymore.
It was a dark and rainy night (REALLY) in January 1971, in Fayetteville. The Longbranch Saloon was closing and I had no way to get back to Bragg. There was a Maverick firing up, with 4 slightly drunk GIs on board. I knocked on the window and asked for a ride. The driver, a big guy with the map of Ireland on his face, said, "Yeah, get in." He then asked if I had any money on me. I had 20 bucks (lots of $$$$ then) and said "No" Then he said, "Do you jump outta airplanes" and I thought, what have I got myself into??? I said "No" Then, before we started back, he asked, "Do you wanna learn?"
Remember, it is closing time, there is an ICE strom going on, and it's 10 miles back to Bragg. I said, "Sure!!"
So began my friendship with Skip Gallagher. Made my first jump 10 days later, on a SES rig that Bob Patterson and I packed the morning of the jump, because someone had taken the rig I had already packed and been signed off on.
Later in my short jump career did my first 4 man (from a UH1H) with Skip.
John L Gallagher, it is so sad to see you go, Johnny, we hardly knew ya.
With Skip it was always about others. Conversations with Skip almost always started with him asking you something about yourself, or something you did recently. Always positive, he was fun to talk to. In skydiving, Skip would often offer to just video your jump. Always helpful with new jumpers, a very skilled belly flier yet loved to freefly. Skip bridged all the gaps. Skip had the gift of gab like no other. Whenever he told a story, all you wanted to do was listen. It's hard to explain what a unique individual Skip was, words just won't do it. A mentor and a friend, I will never forget Skip.
We had a nice remembrance weekend for Skip in Wichita this past weekend. Chuck Powell had organized two Cessna 182s to provide lift at Stearman Field in Benton, KS (site of some of the original Gypsy Moth footage) but we were weathered out. Did have a great showing of local jumpers and Skip's family at the Stearman Grill Saturday night, and on Sunday we finally got enough ceiling for a couple of hop n pops.