Forums: Community: Blue Skies - In Memory Of:
Gene Paul Thacker D-167

 


airtwardo  (D License)

Aug 20, 2012, 6:35 AM
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Gene Paul Thacker D-167 Can't Post

 
Gene Paul Thacker passed away this morning.



An icon in the sport since gravity was invented.



Blue Skies Mr. Raeford ~ Rest Easy Ole Friend.








http://www.flickr.com/...ordjerry/3908275364/


(This post was edited by airtwardo on Aug 20, 2012, 11:36 AM)
Attachments: Gene Paul Thacker.jpg (53.5 KB)


peek  (D 8884)

Aug 20, 2012, 7:10 AM
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Re: [airtwardo] Gene Paul Thacker D-167 [In reply to] Can't Post

Condolences to the family.
He contributed a lot to the sport and to USPA.


nndefense  (C 3917)

Aug 20, 2012, 7:17 AM
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Sorry to hear it. I've known him since 1962. Hope he went peacefully.


Usetawuz  (D 2747)

Aug 20, 2012, 7:29 AM
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Condolences to the Thacker family and the whole skydiving community. We've lost a really good one!

Fly Free, Gene Paul, Fly Free, my friend.


Deisel  (D 31661)

Aug 20, 2012, 8:13 AM
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Many prayers to the Thacker family. The DZ will not be the same without him.

Damn. It never gets easier, does it?


Wright  (D 7958)

Aug 20, 2012, 10:07 AM
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When and where will the services be?


skybill  (D 6009)

Aug 20, 2012, 10:08 AM
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Re: [airtwardo] Gene Paul Thacker D-167 [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Jim,
Thanks for posting about Gene Paul. 'Known him since I started jumping. Fly on Gene Paul, fly on. That "Star" up there just grew one bigger.
'Not much else for me to say right now, just fly on Gene Paul, Fly on.


robinheid  (D 5533)

Aug 20, 2012, 10:49 AM
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Re: [airtwardo] Gene Paul Thacker D-167 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Gene Paul Thacker passed away this morning.



An icon in the sport since gravity was invented.



Blue Skies Mr. Raeford ~ Rest Easy Ole Friend.








http://www.flickr.com/...ordjerry/3908275364/

Gene Paul was the first DZO I met, and set a standard for all who followed.

Truly one of the pivotal figures in sport parachuting for decades, first as jumper and DZO, then as a long-serving board member.

And a great guy with a wonderful family to boot.

Be sad for now that he's gone.
Be happy forever that he was here.

44
Frown


matthewcline  (D 21585)

Aug 20, 2012, 11:12 AM
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A friend to many, an icon in this sport, a legend, for all to admire.

Rest Easy!

Matt


Swoopper  (D 16956)

Aug 20, 2012, 2:19 PM
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Blue Skies Gene Paul you will be missed by anyone who ever had the honer of meeting you.

Gene Paul was for me like many many people in the sport someone you looked up to and admired. I remember the day back in the mid 90's when Gene Paul called me down to the end of the bar were he always sipped on his red wine and poured me a glass. I knew from that point on Raeford would always be my home DZ and I had earned the old mans approval. I am just sorry I didnt have a chance to see him one more time before God took him from this world. To everyone that knew and loved Gene Paul my deepest condolences to you.


ScaryLarry,

Larry Thiessen D16956
Raefordite 93 to present


ERRR  (D 19727)

Aug 20, 2012, 2:30 PM
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Blue Skies Gene. Thanks for all the help and memories.


joesky  (D License)

Aug 20, 2012, 3:24 PM
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bummer
He had a special way with jumpers. I went to Raeford to learn how to turn style. He got me dabbling in the sixes. Lots of memories.
thanks Gene.


tkhayes  (D 18764)

Aug 20, 2012, 4:04 PM
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Truly a legend and an icon of our times and our sport. Everyone at Skydive City I know is sending their condolences and vibes to the family and friends in Raeford.

Miss you dude, having a glass of wine in your honor....Hello to Miss Billie


freakyrat  (D 12700)

Aug 20, 2012, 5:17 PM
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My prayers and condolences go out to the Thacker family.

I met Gene Paul at Raeford in 1997 at the POP's Nationals. With his guidance the meet went smoothly. There was only one hitch. The restaurant that was to cater the closing dinner suddenly went out of business. Not to worry though, Gene Paul took the bull by the horns and with his guidance and his wonderful staff pulled it off at the DZ.

Blue Skies Gene Paul thanks for enriching my life experience in this sport and also those of others.


dzswoop717  (D 9277)

Aug 20, 2012, 6:34 PM
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Some of the best times of my life happened at Raeford, 1984-1987. Gene Paul was like a second father to alot of us young know-it-all jumpers. Strict when we screwed up and a hand out when we needed it. I personally learned alot from Gene Paul. I wouldn't be the person I am today with out his influence. I am just one person, he touched countless lives through the years and the world is a better place because of him. My prayers are with the family in their time of grief. Hope there is a Twin Bo in heaven for you and Paul Keith to buzz around in.


daveverner  (D 968)

Aug 20, 2012, 10:27 PM
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So sorry to hear this, I will miss seeing Gene Paul the next time I am thru Raeford, my compassion to the entire family, so sorry Tony! Dave Verner D-968


flipper3  (D 3115)

Aug 21, 2012, 12:30 PM
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Sorry to hear this - hope he eased out of this world peacefully.

Met him when I made my first sport jumps out at Raeford when I was stationed at Ft. Bragg. Missed the turkey farm but made it into the trees on a very long spot. He ran a good operation there. He will be missed by many.

Blue skies Gene Paul!

Flip


3331  (D 3331)

Aug 23, 2012, 1:45 PM
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Gene Paul Thacker was born in Pike County, Kentucky on June 21, 1931 to the late Appy Thacker and Octavia Smith Thacker. He was preceded in death by his son; Paul Keith Thacker; his brother, Chester Thacker; two sisters Clara Thacker and Opal Thacker Bishop.

After marrying his high school sweet heart, Billie Jean Chapman, in 1953, Mr. Thacker joined the U.S. Army and earned his jump wings with the 101st Airborne Division, the Screaming Eagles. In 1963 Mr. Thacker joined the U.S. Armys elite parachute team, the Golden Knights. In 1967, Mr. Thacker received the Golden Knight of the Year award, the first time the award was ever given. In 1968 he left the team to serve a tour in Vietnam. While in Vietnam serving as an advisor he was engaged in a firefight and wounded. He returned to the United States and became the full-time managerof the Green Beret Sport Parachute Club. With his deep passion for the sport of skydiving, in 1970 Mr. Thacker began building what is today P.K. Airpark. Among his great accomplishments, Mr. Thacker is probably most noted for coaching and training more world champion skydivers than any other professional in the sport. Mr. Thacker was a veteran in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He was awarded many commendations over his 22 year career in the U.S. Army. Some of these include the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Master Parachute Badge and the Distinguished Flying Cross. Gene Paul Thacker retired from the U.S. Army as a Master Sergeant in 1971.

Survivors include his wife, Billie Jean Thacker of Raeford; daughter, Kimberly Sue Moore and her husband Mike of Pinebluff; two sons, Tony Thacker and his wife Kate of Raeford, Tim Thacker of Raeford; brother, Greg Thacker and his wife Brenda of Muscleshoals, Alabama; three half-brothers, Mike Thacker, Ronnie Thacker, and Gary Thacker all of Canada, KY; three sisters, Mary Jane Deiranieh and her husband Akram of San Jose, CA, Lois Reed of Belfry, KY, Gail Thacker of Belfry, KY; six grandchildren, Deny Jo Nagule, Lindsay Rae Moore, Lauren Ansley Thacker, Taylor Nicole Moore, Morgan Leigh Thacker, Allie Victoria Thacker; three great grandchildren, Darren Nagule, Charlie McClendon, Madison McClendon; one great great grandchild, Royce Michael Nagule; a special nephew, Steve Bishop of South Carolina; his companion of 13 years his Jack Russell, Otis.


d8640  (D 8640)

Aug 25, 2012, 7:42 AM
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I was very sad to hear Gene Paul has passed. He was one of the greats in the development of skydiving and a friend. RIP my friend
John O'Quinn


Premier slotperfect  (D 13014)
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Aug 25, 2012, 5:01 PM
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Gene Paul Thacker was laid to rest this afternoon with a large group of family and friends there to see him off and pay their respects. Gene Paul was buried with full military honors by a detail from Ft. Bragg. The Golden Knights Commander, Sergeant Major and accompanying current team mates - along with a long list of former team members - were in attendance as well.

The group relocated to PK Airpark (home of Raeford Parachute Center) for catching up with old friends and making some new ones. Raeford Aviation's aircraft paid a well executed tribute to D-167 just before the feast prepared by our very own "Executive Chef."

The heavens smiled upon us today, bringing us unseasonably cool temperatures and the first blue sky Saturday without a threat of rain since June. Apparently we were not alone in thinking that Gene Paul earned a special send-off.

-----------------------

A Celebration of Life has been scheduled for 20 October at PK Airpark for the greater skydiving community, extended family, and friends. More to follow as details become available.


zoobrothertom  (D 9397)

Sep 14, 2012, 10:08 AM
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Blue Skies Gene Paul. Frown

Thanks for your years of devotion to our sport.

Condolences to the Thacker Family.


Thomas 'Whit' Garrison


Premier slotperfect  (D 13014)
Moderator
Sep 30, 2012, 10:29 AM
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Celebration of Life in Honor of Gene Paul Thacker
Saturday, 20 October 2012, 4:00 PM
Raeford Parachute Center

This will be an outdoor event. So please dress appropriately. We also welcome the National Skydiving Museum to this event as a fundraiser for the museum.



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