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sangiro

Eric (Tonto) Stephenson - Goodbye my friend

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Dammit.....t....Blue Skies and fly free forever[:/][:/][:/]:(

There are just no words for your loss Little Red.....:(:(:(:(


I got to meet T and Little Red at Eloy in 2004... what a horrible loss to all of us in the sport and to all of us here on DIZZY that appreciated his insight.:(

I thought I was all cried out after the memorial for our Snohomish 10 yesterday.... but nope... more tears to shed.....[:/][:/][:/]

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What a terrible day!

Tonto was such a good friend to so many people. I had the pleasure of doing hundreds of AFF jumps with him. He was a great instructor and gave all our students so much confidence. Such a professional guy but always had time to smile at his co-instructor during a dive.

He loved skydiving!

Blue Skies t,

Vana

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As a new jumper I cant even begin to say how much Tonto's insightful post have helped me. I never met him in person but it is a testament to the man that he has touched the lives of and helped so many people throughout the world (many of which he didn't even know existed). From reading all the other posts in this thread it is obvious that the world has not only lost a amazing teacher and skydiver, but a great person to.

I am originally from Johannesburg and I was looking forward to meeting him when I come down to visit my folks. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and all his loved ones.

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Couldn't believe it when I read the text message on my phone this afternoon. Got the sad confirmation...

Had the chance to meet Eric when I was in SA and share some air.

All my love and thoughts to his daughters and all at JSC, specially Taya, Sherie and PJ.

:(:(:(:(
scissors beat paper, paper beat rock, rock beat wingsuit - KarlM

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a few years ago we had a thread running for all the none USA dot commers, a place where we who were awake whilst the USA slept would gather.
It was eventually locked and a chat froom was started called Bltherchat, Tonto was a regualar with us, there was a small band of us, but we spent many days getting to know each other over a couple of years, there were some token Yanks too, the late nighters Like Jeanne (Amazon) and Katiebear (playing in the sandbox). I developed a deep respect and liking for "t" (it's little t not T) and we had planned to do quite a few things when i visit SA next year.
You will be missed by many my friend. My heart goes out to Taya,Beverly, Peej and all the JSC crew[:/]
You are not now, nor will you ever be, good enough to not die in this sport (Sparky)
My Life ROCKS!
How's yours doing?
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Aah crap man, what a loss.To have been in the sport for so long, given so much and still been so enthusiastic. He told me one of the things he liked the most was when he got to learn from someone who had been a student of his. He didn't care about ego just wanted to fly better, he'd learn from anyone and help anyone.

Taya, he loved you so much, I am so sorry for your loss.

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Geez I can't beleive this. Tonto was my instructor on my first 2 SL jumps in 1990 in Stellenbosch - in those days he impressed me with his attitude and his appearance (long hair and always jumped barefoot !) and he influenced me to return to skydiving in 1996 to do AFF and continue my skydiving career. We have subsequently had regular contact via PMs when we would discuss everything other than skydiving !

His posts as a moderator on DZ.com are going to be sorely missed. Thought provoking posts and always safety conscious. Safety first !!

Just goes to show we are not all invincible and if this can happen to him it can happen to anyone ! Be careful out there.

He is going to be missed terribly.

My sincere condolences to his daughters, Taya, parents and other loved ones.

Hambe gashle. Go in peace !

Doc Rich
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Everything that happens to you in life is your teacher. The secret is to learn to sit at the feet of your life and be taught.

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Well said Peej...

The man will always be in my heart as a friend and i will always remember his voice, so eager to learn and full of advice. Thanks for all the chats we had and the advice you passed on.

Love you buddy
Blue Skies :(
Take it easy... and if you get it easy, take it TWICE!

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Quote

a few years ago we had a thread running for all the none USA dot commers, a place where we who were awake whilst the USA slept would gather.
It was eventually locked and a chat froom was started called Bltherchat, Tonto was a regualar with us, there was a small band of us, but we spent many days getting to know each other over a couple of years, there were some token Yanks too, the late nighters Like Jeanne (Amazon) and Katiebear (playing in the sandbox). I developed a deep respect and liking for "t" (it's little t not T) and we had planned to do quite a few things when i visit SA next year.
You will be missed by many my friend. My heart goes out to Taya,Beverly, Peej and all the JSC crew[:/]



Ditto Squeak.

That was where I first spoke with t too.


www.myspace.com/durtymac

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Thought I would share this with you - a reply I had from Tonto a year or so ago in response to a mutual friends demise - quote:
"I'm kinda Buddhist though, so really for me it's like they got bumped from the load and remanifested, or are not really back from a bad spot yet."

Sort of puts his life into perspective - he is not gone forever.

Rich
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Everything that happens to you in life is your teacher. The secret is to learn to sit at the feet of your life and be taught.

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Sangiro -

My thoughts and love are with you. Thank you for honoring him by changing the colours on the site.

I'd like to post some words from the man himself. It's his last PM to me, and it changed my life.

From Tonto:

Quote



The society we live in seems to expect us to be part of some fringe culture and to risk all on a ski slope, a mountain face, the sky or the sea. That conflicts with the vast majority of inspirational human beings I have met or that I know of. My knowledge of self is somewhat disheartening. It seems I'm fairly good at getting into deep, deep trouble, and there I find my quietest self, and perform well. I wish I could have traded that skill for a good income, but we play the hand we are dealt. I've tried to use those experiences to better help those who have spent time dancing around the hole, but who have not yet fallen in and who may not know the way out.

I certainly hope that the high points of my last 22 years are not contained in my 60 something hours of freefall. I'd be far more satisfied to find them in the laughter of my friends, the eyes of my lover, the thoughts of my children.

From your attitude, I'm sure that you have taken the "energy" (I don't like the word fear - it has too many negative connotations for a vital emotion) you felt within this sport and have channeled it into being the very best rigger you can be. You seem to have taken your knowledge of self, and used it to be a vital and positive force in our community. As someone who has had 20 cutaways, I'm totally reliant on my rigger. Thanks for the time and effort you put into each packjob. You cannot put a price on a save.

Blue Skies Always,

t



Respectfully,

Dawn Larsen

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