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MissBuffDiver

SCR#7 Don Henderson (007)has passed away

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It is with deep sorrow and a heavy heart, that I must tell you that Don passed away Fri. 12-3-10 @ 5:38pm. His son Barry, grandson and great grandson spent 5 days with him at the hosp. Don had been off all fluids for 10 days, and passed peacefully in his sleep. Even when you know it's coming, it's still a shock. I am very lucky to have had several long phone calls with 007. He was full of piss and vinegar as usual. Telling stories of long ago. I never tired of his crazy stories. I know they were true, cuz I was in some of them. If you didn't know him you'd think they were tall tales. If you did know him, you'd know that this little guy had one incredible life. Anybody remember the green VW Van? Of course you do, it was a legend at the DZ, just like he was. I'm sure gonna miss this guy, with his bigger than life personality. His son Barry will get on FaceBook as I suggested, as many of us are there. He is eager to hear from all his Dads friends. I'm sure if any of you have pictures, he'd love to receive them. Don would have been 73 on 12-28. He is now in the middle of one hell of a party up there. I can almost hear him saying, "no shit, there I was." Being the newbie, I'm sure all eyes are on him. I told him he's goin' where we all want to go, only we don't wanna die to get there. That made him laugh his ass off...Blue Skies 007...RIP....We love you....
Sandy

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Thanks Sandy for a very moving post about 007's life, last days and exit over the DZ that always has blue skies.

377
2018 marks half a century as a skydiver. Trained by the late Perry Stevens D-51 in 1968.

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One Sunday at Arvin a bunch of us, Don Henderson included, were standing around the tables waiting for the tule fog to burn off. Someone started telling scary jump stories. I passed on this one I had heard at Elsinore about a first jump student on jump run (1963 or earlier) who was getting out onto the strut and flipped backwards off the wheel of the 172. He ended up hanging feet-to-earth and unconsciousness below the plane; his static line had taken a turn between him and his backpack. The pilot slowly circled and gained a little altitude to see if the student would come around so they could employ the standard EP for the situation. No luck; the student was still out cold.
The jumpmaster had a hook knife on top of his reserve and decided he would slide down the static line, grab the guy's harness, cut his static line and then pull his reserve as they fell away together. The jumpmaster climbed out and made it most of the way down but lost his grip and fell off.
This left only one other first jump student, the pilot and no more knives. The pilot took part of the dash (ashtray?) and bent it back and forth until he tore it in half. The new plan was for Student #2 to hook up his own static line, climb down Student #1's static line, grab onto his harness and get ready to pull Student #1's reserve handle. Then the pilot would saw through Student #1's static line, both jumpers would fall away and, as Student #2's main was deploying, he would pull Student #1's reserve handle.
So Student #2 hooks up and slides down Student #1's static liine. Student #1 wakes up as Student #2 arrives and states that he wants to pull his own reserve. I don't recall exactly what happened from there on but the results were that Student #1's static line was cut by the pilot and he landed safely under his reserve. Student #2 had a clean static line deployment of his main.
I said, "How'd you like to be that guy? It's your first jump, and you have to climb out and slide down a static line?" Don said, "That was me."

Al Paradowski
SCR-2

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Great story, Al - a real No Shit There I Was moment.

Condolences to Don's family and friends. Eternal Blue Skies for Don.
"Even in a world where perfection is unattainable, there's still a difference between excellence and mediocrity." Gary73

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When Don told me that story, I called him a liar. My 1st jump was a water jump into Elsinore due to rods and pins in my femur. My FJM was Vicky Herst. She didn't know it was my 1st jump. Don and Bill Hallam were pretending like I had jumped at Perris and convinced Douris to let me make a water jump cuz they were getting D license requirements that weekend. When I got in the truck and we were going back to the DZ, Vicky asked me how many jumps I had. I put up 1 finger. She said no, not how many water jumps, but total jumps. I put up 1 finger again. She almost fell off the tailgate. Douris was looking for Bill, Don and I, so we snuck back to Perris. Later, I found out from many jumpers that Don's 1st jump was exactly as you explained. He never stopped kidding me about the fact that he was a hero after jump #1 and I was a fugitive. Eventually I made a 2nd jump at Perris. Dean Westgaard was supposed to catch me in the peas at Perris. I still had the hardware in my leg. They put me out under a 32' military round. I was comin' in on target and Dean folds his arms and says PLF. I landed so softly that I turned my ankle and it broke. Phil Christman loaded me in his van and took me to Riverside, ER, got a cast, came back, propped my leg up on a stool and worked the snack shack. Don came over got a soda and said, "you're the hero now." Later that night we went to Tanner Dude ranch next to my house on Grand Ave in Lakeland Village. Danced the nite away. I put a white knee hi boot on and hardly anybody noticed I was wearing a cast on the other leg. I was in so much pain that I got drunk and puked all night. A couple weeks ago, Don asked me how my ankle was. Told him it was pretty messed up, cuz it never healed right. He laughed and said, "even a hero knows when not to dance." Then lovingly called me a dumb ass.....:P***BOOGIE TIL YOU PUKE
Sandy

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Hi Al,
That's our Don!! Heard that story many times from others as well as Don!! And now he's gone. Gone are the daze of Round Parachutes and Iron Men!! 'Posted a note on the memorial Forum too. Let the "007 Stories Begin!!"
SCR-2034, SCS-680

III%,
Deli-out

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Sandy,

I should have known not to try and swap jump stories with a pro. No way can I top those two you just told and include Don too. I do have one non-jump Don story, though.
So we're riding bikes again one crystal-clear day heading west on Mulholland Drive. We're enjoying the views of the San Fernando Valley on one side and the LA Basin with the distant blue ocean on the other. Don turns left and heads down a canyon road towards Beverly Hills. We pull up along side a big mansion with a high see-through ornamental iron fence with spikes at the top. There's a woman in the yard. Don gets off, walks over and talks in low tones to the woman for a minute. He then turns and holds up a finger like, "I'll be back in a minute." So I sit with the bikes and wait while he disappears into the mansion with the lady. They come out after about ten minutes and carry on a cheery and animated conversation near the front door. I can't hear what they're saying but I'm thinking,"This reminds me of that movie, China Town."
Finally he comes back and my mouth must've been hanging open or something because he says, "Oh, that used to be Howard Hughes' house. I just wanted to check out my room for old time's sake." I had known Don long enough not to dispute any claim he made. Then I started thinking about his connections with the film studios. As we rode down into Beverly Hills, I'm shaking my head and saying to myself, "Al, you got to get a life!"

Al Paradowski
SCR-2

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