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marcorandazza

Fatality at Eloy (Dec. 30), Condolences for Cliff Heller (Apoil)

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Cliff, you weird, offensive, hilarious bastard

oh. this gets me. so right you are. and yet...like jen has written somewhere, he and i never argued (well - after we stopped living 4 feet apart from each other on the second floor of 646 davis ave). i think he reserved his softer side for me. : )

sister, vicky
included is a pic of him, not being offensive!

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I remember when i was 15 there was this guy at my high school who was bothering me. When I told Cliff and our cousin Craig they both said "well how can this person continue to harass you with both his legs broken." I was glad to have an older brother willing to kick someones ass for me :)NEVER assume that you can tell a person how you feel later, or another day. YOU might not have that other day. Live in the now; don't wait till later.[:/]:(

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Hi Everyone,

I'm not a skydiver but I was a friend of Cliff's for 20 years and I'd really like to express my condolences to his family and other friends. He was a great guy who always stayed in touch even when he was living thousands of miles away or on the other side of the world. I'll miss him a lot.

Two things I'd like to say about Cliff that a lot of people might not know is that he was a great writer and a great computer programmer. He was always modest about his writing. Instead of trying to publish a novel or write for a magazine, he'd use his skills whenever he sent you a personal email message or posted on a message board. Back in 1995 he was an early version of what we'd describe today as a "blogger", when he traveled the US by motorcycle and posted a journal of his activities on the internet each night. In the 80's he wrote a message on my BBS that was so good I kept it and put it on my web site many years later. It was titled, "Let's put Frank in the Cool Club".

Remember the Y2k bug? Some people say it was overblown. As a programmer, I've always said, it was a serious problem that programmers managed to fix in time. Cliff was one of those programmers. While the rest of us were getting ready to party, Cliff was in Singapore, at his computer, making sure the world banking system wasn't going to collapse at midnight. I remember chatting with him that day. "New Zealand just rolled over!", he said with great delight.

Here's one photo I found of him, from 2004, shortly before he enrolled in law school. I'm sure he'd have been as good a lawyer as he was with everything else he did in his life.

Frank

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I've read this thread with a heavy heart, and it's tough to add to what I've already read. I see now that Cliff was to many what he was to me, and more. It surprises me to feel a tinge of jealousy at some of what I've read. People actually had more fun with Cliff than I did? Dammit!

But I can't complain too much because I was one of the lucky ones who crossed paths with him, both in the air and on the ground. I'm one of the lucky ones who got to eat gross things with him once, and drink and discuss good malt beverages on several occasions. I'm one of the lucky ones who got to freefly with Cliff, and debate the finer points of canopy flight. I'm one of the lucky ones who reaped the benefits of his free guidance, and sarcastic wit. I'm one of the lucky ones who got that complex yet unrivaled sense of humor. And I'm one of the lucky ones who enjoyed the challenge of debate with him.

People say Cliff was argumentative, but that's not accurate. Cliff was engaging. He was one of those rare people that you meet that you just can't evade in conversation. He requires your full attention. I would always approach Cliff when I saw him at the DZ just for that interaction, and I was never disappointed. How often will you meet someone with an expert opinion on everything from canopies to cognac, from head down to hip-hop? I've even had discussions with Cliff about the pride people should take in the proper use of the semicolon; it was one of his favorite punctuation marks. Yes, Cliff was a smart fucker.

This brings me to why I answered your post, Jason, and not others. Cliff didn't argue the importance of the east coast punk scene simply for the sake of argument. He did it because he was right, and as long as I breathe you will never have the last word.;)

You are right about one thing, though. Cliff was an asshole. But God, I love a good asshole, and he was among the best.


I met Cliff briefly at Z-hills back in'03, but I didn't really get to know him until moving to Cali in '04. Many of you may recall that Cliff narrowly cheated death at Davis that year by hand deploying his reserve after a cutaway and entanglement with his reserve bridle. I moved out west and saw him at Hollister shortly after that near incident. After hearing his story, ironically now, I remember thanking him for not dying before I got out there to meet him again, because I had heard so much about him from Aviva & Aimee. I didn't know it at the time but I really did owe him thanks for that. I've had some good Cliff memories accumulate since then, and some good Cliff skydives during the past two years.

To Cliff's family, I am so deeply sorry. The too short amount of time that I have known Cliff only tells me that the magnitude of your loss is inconceivable. Thank you so much for blessing the rest of us with his presence.

To Jen, words can't begin to convey. Thank you so much for blessing the rest of us with Cliff's presence after he met you.

To Cliff, fly free bro. Dock on us sometime...

:(:(:(


Sean M

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I met Cliff during the 2002 Easter boogie at Zhills.

There there was no peace on that trip once I had!

Whether he was tempting me into debate around the campfire, insisting I come skydiving with him, or trying to drag us off somewhere to eat, drink or party...

I had a huge amount of fun hanging out with him on that holiday and many happy memories will forever be attached to those weeks in Zhills.

I was not much of a freeflyer - never have been - but that didn't stop me trying - or him trying to teach me... while he grinned from ear to ear in freefall... (the photo provides a sight that I am sure was familiar to many).

Was I the only one...? Or did freeflying somehow seem so much easier when he was right there in front of you?

I saw Cliff again at the Swedish Herc Boogie that same year. Then again at Zhills in 2003.

I was with him in Zhills the day he broke his wrist and my heart still skips a beat when I remember his landing from that jump...
The photo with his wrist in a cast was taken when he returned to the DZ later that evening.

I left Zhills to come back to the UK just after that photo was taken.

That was the last time I saw Cliff.

We kept in touch from time to time in the years that followed, I was glad just to know that he was following a path that made him happy.

I had of course hoped to see him again someday.

I still do.

--

Meeting you, flying with you and getting to know you Cliff was unforgettable.
Thanks for making me see so many things I'd never really thought about... in so many weird and wonderful new ways!



C.x

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Cliff was the first instructor I met when I came to Hollister from Monterey Bay to get my AFF (finally) done.


I owe him a lot - I still have the videos of my lessons here with his huge grin on them, along with some later ones of him TRYING to get me to sit fly a couple years back!

Even after he left for Davis, I always got the feeling that Cliff (and his "debates"!) were still a part of everyday life at Hollister. I guess they will remain so - but I know he'll be missed in person.


Thanks for everything Cliff - it was good knowing you. My condolences to all his family & friends.

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I was with him in Zhills the day he broke his wrist and my heart still skips a beat when I remember his landing from that jump...
The photo with his wrist in a cast was taken when he returned to the DZ later that evening.


aw shit....
I was one of cliffs neighbors at zhills. I remember that same landing.
RIP Cliff
HAVE FUN...
...JUST DONT DIE

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I have met and Jumped with Cliff at SDC on a couple of occasions. I then met him at Hollister again a couple years ago.
Cliff always impressed me with his manner and skill. I will miss him and wish to send my deepest condolences to all that were close to him.
Troy

I am now free to exercise my downward mobility.

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no mate you know dame well you are not the only one, how many nights in Jakarta or at Lido this happened, everytime, he was a sick bastard but aren't we all.
some of the things we did in Indo we would never have got away with anywhere else, it's a surprise we never got locked up.

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thinking back to the early days in Indonesia, CLiff tought me how to sit fly, we laughed at our national ranking at the time.
Cliff was the #1 ranks free flyer in South East Asia, #1 ranked in singapore where he lives.
I was #1 ranked free flyer in Indonesia, the fact that I was the only free flyer in Indonesia did matter #1 is #1.

The weeked that Marco come to jump with us & he almost gave Cliff a heart attack when he landed off, Cliff was shitting himself incase something bad happened to Marco & Cliff would have a hit out on him by the family for not looking after Marco. Luckily Marco landed safely on the Lido golf course.
not on the fiarway but on the green digging a huge trench in it & pissing off lots of golfers.

We got some great vidoe that weekend, some of sky diving also.

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holy shit. i am really glad you linked to these newsgroup postings. i didn't know these were out there especially in this quantity. i certainly didn't know google had made this all easily navigable and searchable in their gradual process of taking over the world.

i am glad to have all this as an artifact of cliff's panoply of interests. check out the recent stuff on alt.coffee.
what a connoi-fucking-sseur he was.

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This was always one of my favorite exit shots. It was my desktop wallpaper for a long time and now it is again. That is Cliff in the top right corner.

I had to reduce the size to post it. If anyone wants a full size copy PM me and I will email it to you.

-OK
Time flies like an arrow....fruit flies like a banana

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I jumped with Cliff somewhere in northern Cali on 8/20/05. Cliff recorded the footage but he never worked on it or sent me my jump footage because he started law school the next week. does anybody know if cliff mentioned the drop zone or the location of the video?.........

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The weeked that Marco come to jump with us & he almost gave Cliff a heart attack when he landed off, Cliff was shitting himself incase something bad happened to Marco & Cliff would have a hit out on him by the family for not looking after Marco. Luckily Marco landed safely on the Lido golf course.
not on the fiarway but on the green digging a huge trench in it & pissing off lots of golfers.

We got some great vidoe that weekend, some of sky diving also.



Hahahah! Yeah, I remember that like it was yesterday. I jumped from the aircraft with my leg straps un-done, and was putting my rig on in free fall. Not my smartest maneuver. Of course, it got me disoriented, and it was either *try* and make it back to the DZ, or *definitely* make it to the golf course.

Golf course is surrounded by a banana farm, and yes, I trashed the green.

Some banana farmer puts me on his motorcycle and drives me back.

That look on Cliff's face, as it went from abject worry to "you idiot!" was priceless.

And my family would never put a hit on Cliff. We're not "that kind of Sicilians." That was Cliff's way of saying "I hope I didnt break him."

Black, if you have any video of him... us... that weekend... let me know. I'm collecting it.

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Well, here I am ... back home in Florida.

I had what can only be described as a voyage of a weekend. All expenses paid (well, paid by myself) to exotic Staten Island.

I'm sad to report that this is not a hoax... and I was still holding out a wee bit of irrational hope. But I am happy to report that we did manage to laugh.

Friday night we had a great time. We polished off a lot of Maker's Mark, Saturday it was a bottle of Patron, and a bottle of Maker's.

The Eulogies did him justice. The service was perfect. And we actually managed to start making fun of Cliff -- which he would have done to us.

I can't say that I actually "accept" this... but I'm not losing it anymore. Hugging Craig, and Vic, and Russ, and Brandi, Sherman, Crazy Cousin Cindy, Jen, Aviva, etc., started to put a little of my bleeding strength back in me.

My big brother is gone... but i've inherited a little brother, and two sisters.

Not a bad trade.

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