John Robbins, my best friend

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John died today after a short illness.

He was my best friend and has been for 58 years. We met in the 5th grade. We went through school, Boy Scouts, high school swim team together. After high school I went into the army and he started working as a draftsman. I started jumping in the army and when I got out I came home with the typical enthusiasm of a new jumper. We went to Kissimmee where Jimmy Godwin had a drop zone and John made his first jump. That was in 1970. We discovered that a guy was jumping at Herlong Field on our side of Jacksonville. He made a couple of static lines there but didn't make his first free fall for whatever reason. Some years later, '74 I think, he decided to get back into it. I was jumping at Palatka by then and had all the "merit badges" and put him out on his static line jumps and his first free fall. He continued on through his progressing with no real problems. When he had about 35 jumps we went to DeLand and I organized a 16 man star and he was the base. There were 25 people on the load but this was 1974. He continued jumping as he went through college. After he graduated he could afford to jump more and we were on the Palatka 10 man teams for the Z-Hills Turkey meets. In '77 he was on a 4 way team, Kinetic Sunshine, with John Kivipelto, Doug Smith and Jimmy Thrift. They took the silver at nationals. In '83 he teamed up with Doug Smith again and Tommy Pirus and Guy Manos. At the '84 Nationals they were Goldie Locks and the 3 Bears. The next year. Doug dropped out and Joe Neputy (sp) came on. This was the Air Bears. They won the Nationals and went on to the world meet in Yugoslavia. They took me as the team rigger and packer at Johns suggestion. They won by a fairly wide margin. That was the last competitive team he was on but he kept jumping. He was on the Olympic Rings dive in Korea. He was on several World Team record attempts.

While he was doing all this, he was also building his engineering practice, As an environmental engineer he was much sought after because of his expertise and integrity. He wasn't afraid to speak truth to power and it may have cost him some business but that wasn't the kind of business he wanted anyway. He was a very successful engineer. He was a very successful person.

He was my best friend. I think he was a lot of peoples best friend. But I had the privilege of knowing him for fifty eight years.
Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossilbe before they were done.
Louis D Brandeis

Where are we going and why are we in this basket?

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Heartfelt sendoff Niki. John was indeed a great guy. One of the last four way jumps I made with him was memorable. We blasted thru point after point cranking away. At 2500' it seemed as though we all realized the altitude but John, Tommy, Hallett and I grinned big for a couple more points finally breaking off at 1500' landing way out, high fives on the ground. THAT is the smile I see when thinking of our friend John.

Blue skies and one more point John!


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