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sangiro

Eric (Tonto) Stephenson - Goodbye my friend

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Anyone familiar with these forums knows that there are some people whose opinion is always worth noting. Tonto's posts were invariably rational, thoughtful, thought-provoking, direct and unflinchingly honest. In heated debates, you could always count on him to offer a voice of reason. He was a teacher and mentor to many of us. The loss of his voice leaves a terrible void; he will be profoundly missed.

Blue skies, t.
May the (relative) wind take your troubles away...

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Tonto pm'd me earlier this year in response to something I had posted in the women's forum. He was so supportive and his encouraging words got me through some of my pain. He shared with me some of his own secrets to a good relationship. He really loved Taya. I am so sad to hear this news.

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This is one of the worst years I've seen in skydiving as far as accidents in general and losing friends to cancer, etc.

I enjoyed reading Tonto's posts. Best wishes to his family and friends. :(
"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people." - SIX TIME National Champion coach Nick Saban

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On the way to the DZ i called a good friend and heard the news, needless to say I was less than happy. Even though I had never met Tonto I read his posts as he was a voice of reason. WHen I got to the DZ I let a few fellow DZ.comers know that we lost Tonto. The initial look was one of disbelief. A friend had her laptop and we jumped on-line to confirm what had happened, needless to say I was rather bummed!!

Tonto, if you can read this from above understand I read your posts and your words will remain with me. I am saddened we lost you, but I celebrate your life and all you gave to this small community. I sit in from of my PC and raise my glass, fly free my friend!!!


BSBD,


Feebs


Fire Safety Tip: Don't fry bacon while naked

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I never knew you Tonto, and I'm very sorry for that. Thank you for all that you gave to people here who never had a chance to meet you. I knew that he had an influence on me here on the forums, and I was sure to let him know. I wrote to him:
Quote


I wanted to say thank you for all of your posts on dropzone. You're a great voice for reason, logic, and experience.



He replied:
Quote


You're welcome!

I have my fair share of clangers, and can be quite outspoken sometimes, but I really believe our attitude is the thing most capable of keeping us safe.

Blue Skies,

t



His words are so true. I'll keep them in mind as I continue down this road. Blue skies Tonto.

- David

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tonto was my mentor and friend. His advice saved my life and I'm so grateful that I met this amazing soul. He had a passion about the sport like no other and his knowledge will be learnt from for years to come.
Fly free my friend, I will miss you.
My deepest sympathies to Taya, Caleigh, Shanna and his parents and sister.
Blue skies forever.

not jumping sux

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I have spent all day dealing with this and I have thought of many things that I could say to express my feelings and what kind of person Eric was. I have come to the conclusion that anything that I (or anyone else) could say would be just a reflection of personal felt loss.Never the less, I am devastated by his death but I am positive what Erics stance would be on this subject as we have discussed it at length.Eric and I saw eye to eye on many things to include the topic of death. Eric was realistic about things in his posts,in person and never sugar coated things. I cannot help but think that because of this, there are people here today that wouldn't be because he called them on their bullshit either in person or online. When people screwed up, he wasn't afraid to say it and right now I am positive that he would admit that he screwed up, plain and simple, and he would take full responsibility, thats the kind of guy Eric was. Eric was a stand up guy.

I am deeply saddened that I will no longer be able to converse with Eric and share our thoughts on this life. I feel badly for those he left behind.For those who didn't know him personally, you cannot be expected to understand how many peoples lives Eric had an influence on in the many different ways we all have an effect on those around us while we are here. For those who knew Eric, you know what I am talking about. Eric, my friend, I will miss you.
"It's just skydiving..additional drama is not required"
Some people dream about flying, I live my dream
SKYMONKEY PUBLISHING

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I've been out of skydiving for a couple years now, but Tonto is someone I haven't come close to forgetting. I loved his quote... what was it? "The ground is hard, fair, and patient" ? The world lost one cool guy today.

The FAKE KRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMER!!!!!!!!!

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"My grace is all you need for my power is strongest when you are weak" 2 Corinthians 12:9
t you were a swoop brother, mentor and all round amazing person. I loved the fact that you always considered yourself a student. You showed me how to learn from others. There was nothing you could have done to prevent this accident, God has a plan for you.
You will always be in our prayers and on our hearts.
We love you brother, see you soon....

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... :(

Tonto, I never met you, I only chatted with you on the forums on occasion...I don't think we ever even shared a PM back-and-forth. But I valued you quite a bit, nonetheless - I've admired and appreciated your insight, your never backing away from difficult questions, and your humility and reflection, even after years in the sport.

Your posts challenged me to think harder about a lot of things in this sport, either changing my opinion or confirming it only after it had been through the difficult questions you raised. Thanks for being a great teacher, whom I never even met.

To Tonto's family and friends, my most heartfelt condolences. If I'm going to miss him just for his perspective and his posts, I can only imagine what a force he was in person. :( I wish you all peace and comfort.

BSBD
Signatures are the new black.

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I am gutted. A living legend is now gone. Tonto would have time for anyone, especially the nobody's and that is what made him great in my eyes. I will always cherish my memories of Eric and I am so so sad for Taya and his lovely girls. I will alway feel so blessed to have actually known him in person.

JSC is such a great club and I'm also very sorry for the pain and sadness that everyone there is going through. I will miss you so much Eric, you where my hero in so many ways [:/]

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Very Sad. In April 1990 Tonto was my jumpmaster on my very first jump at Cape Parachute Club, then still operating at Stellenbosch. Our C-206 was in for a major and we used a Cherokee 6. The planes throttle somehow got stuck and we all had to exit at a much higher speed than normal.

The pilot had to make an emergency landing after we left and Tonto called all the first jumpers on the load, "his first jump heroes" That made up my mind to continue skydiving, and Tonto became my hero.
Unfortunately he left for Johannesburg and I never got to know him. I still have that 1st jump logbook with his "Tonto" signature!

The enitire skydiving community is a much poorer place, because you left us! Blue skies!

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