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howardwhite

Gary Pond - D-6969

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I've spent about 3 years at Jumptown, spread out over a few more than 3. Gary was a generous and humble spirit - always focused on helping the people around him have fun and stay safe. Jumptown will always be "The House that Gary Built"... with a little help from his many friends, and the many people who learned from him over the years. It's a sad day.

Joe

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I am a new jumper who moved over to Jumptown for training. One day, after an AFF jump that I sorta botched-up and had to re-jump, I was sitting at a picnic table grousing about myself.

Gary was working on building the new packing hangar, and he walked over to me with simple encouragement:

"Learning takes time; learning safely takes longer."

In a few words he picked me up, reorganized my priorities, and my determination. He will be missed by many, many people around the planet.

Another star blinks into existence in the evening skies, lighting the way for all left behind.

Fly Free, D-6969.
Live deliberately; Dare greatly; Land gently
SkyPainter
SOS 1304, POPS 10695, DS 118

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I've been out of the sport due to injury since 2003.

I learned of Gary's death from his obituary in my local paper and am deeply saddened.

Jumptown was my home DZ for a brief time. I took AFF there. Gary was instrumental in my instruction. He was my teacher in the classroom and the next day when I did my first AFF jump, he was my ground instructor. My first AFF jump is the only one I have video of and he is prominent in it.

I gave him quite the scare on that jump. He was operating the radio from the ground. My radio failed. It was either off or the volume was down. Under canopy I could not hear him. To his credit, I remembered what he taught me in the classroom the night before and successfully landed without assistance. I landed about 100 yards from him. It was a PLF and I just layed on the ground for a bit thinking to myself 'What the hell just happened?'. Gary, not knowing if I had bounced ran his ass off toward me. I heard him yelling to me to please give him a signal that I was OK. At that time, I gave him a thumbs up. In a very nice way, he reemed my ass for not immediately letting him know all was well.

Just seeing him at the DZ gave me confidence. He was truly the best of the best!

BSBD Gary! Thank you so much for being such a great instructor. If it was not for your skills, I do not know if I would have been able to make that landing without harm.

To Dianne, You probably don't remember me but I do remember you. My deepest sympathy to you and your family. Gary was a good man.

Chris Muenkel

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Gary was my FAVORITE person to do AFF with. He would always give me a quick look over the student's back and his expressions were priceless. He was a great instructor, leader and friend. No matter how many jumps you had, 0-10000, there was always something you could learn from Gary and his lessons will live on in the generation of skydivers he taught.

Fly Free, D-6969!

SJ xx

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I remember Parachutist did a feature on him years ago - anyone remember which issue ?.


November, 2001.
A couple of excerpts:

Quote

I had the privilege of growing up around a very dedicated and unique group of people (Nate Pond, Lew Sanborn etc.) who were some of the first skydivers in the U.S. They jumped round parachutes with no modifications, jumped in New England all winter long, jumped from low altitudes out of Cessnas and learned the hard when it came to body and canopv control. They were the pioneers. Having grown up around much of that history, I often took it all for granted, assuming every skydiver knew the history just like I did. Now that the light has come on, whenever the opportunity presents itself I will talk about the history over some beers with anyone who wants to listen. It's important that skydivers today respect or at least understand some of what came before.


and:
Quote

One hundred years from now, a kid walks by your tombstone and notices the epitaph. What does it say?
"Work hard, play hard. Life is too short. Stop your bitching. Stop! Take a look around you and enjoy the moment --it is only what you make it."




HW

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I don't jump a lot anymore. What I do do is travel to different DZs and look up the old timers to shoot the breeze with. When I could catch a rare moment with him not furiously working his DZ Gary was one of 'em. We'd talk Cessnas, boogies, students new and old, reminiscences in general. I'll miss those opportunities to share his great outlook. He was a "finger on the pulse with an eye on the future" kinda guy with an unsurpassed depth of experience.

jon

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If you guys have a moment to take all of these posts and put them in the guestbook here:http://obit.wittyfuneralhome.com/obitdisplay.html?id=750286&clientid=wittyfuneralhome I think Diane would appreciate it.

She's been asking people to post there so that she will have a central place for 'Gary memories' to share with his grandchildren.
Arianna Frances

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I recently relocated back to Massachusetts after living in Georgia for the last 5 years. On my return my 1st stop was JUMPTOWN.. was welcomed by many friends... One day Gary took me aside, knowing I had been living down south for some years and now living in the area again and having my home dropzone back... He gave me a tour of the new hanger, equipment and his thoughts on the DZ. Gary showed me how proud he was of the DZ and his love for skydiving. I'm proud to say I knew Gary and that JumpTown IS my home dropzone ! Fly free Gary... Now you dont need a parachute or have to pack! Blue Skies and Peace -

Frank Kenyon - USPA/D24036

Feb 2, 2010
North Brookfield, MA

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What a shame. I knew Gary a little when I lived in NE in the 70's. I knew his brother Tim better. Condolences to all of the Ponds.

Wendy P.



Me too, I remember Gary and Tim well from the year I jumped at Orange before moving west. Gary and Diane were a wonderful generous couple and I remember several weekend nights sleeping over in their A-frame house in Orange. I'm saddened to hear this, my love to Diane and the girls.

Your humble servant.....Professor Gravity !

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Igot to ride up front on one of his tandem probationary jumps, we decided I would pull but forgot to attach the handle to the harness.
It came to pull time I reached got a little pucker then looked over my shoulder at Gary,, He was looking at me like WELL,,I was lookin at him like WTF! WE stared at each other for a couple seconds,
Then he started laughing as he realized I didnt have a handle to pull!!
GOOD FUN!!!

Say hey to my DAD, and Pat and Irene!


JUSTIN SILVIA D15898
WAKE UP TANDEMGUY !THERES A DUI CHECKPOINT UP AHEAD

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Nah. I wouldn't consider "Gary gore" a piece of equipment. If you went that way, you would have to talk about "Derry slots" and LeMoigne vents. Some minor rig manufacturers also included their names in the name of their rigs.

For what it's worth, Jacques Istel wrote me the other day:
"I remember the "Gary gore" when as a very small boy (perhaps 4 ?) he cut a piece of a parachute we were designing. We of course adopted his cut and the "Gary gore" was born."


HW



I remember when he had his first malfunction, right after his thousandth jump. It's a shame that I didn't find out he was gone until now.
"A fool may learn from his mistakes. I prefer to learn from the mistakes of others" - Otto Von Bismarck

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