Gus Wing

Lydia Wing c/o Skydive Deland
1600 Flightline Dr. Deland, FL 32724

Memorial Services for Gus Wing
were held at Skydive Deland on Friday April 29, 2005

The mood across the dropzone was somber, and hundreds of friends, family & well wishers, gathered to pay their last respects to Gus. It was easy to see how many lives he had touched in his short time here on Earth, and most were onsite to offer their love & support to Lydia as well as each other.

The Dirt Dive began around 5:30 p.m. and included a full run through of the Memorial Jump.  It provided the guests with an up close view of what was about to happen at altitude.  When they were satisfied with the flow, a Porter & Otter arrived to carry the group to their destination, approximately 13,000 ft AGL.

As the planes flew together to altitude, the masses of people took positions all over the dropzone.  Most gathered in the grassy area next to the landing area near the packing tent.. others remained in their seats on the upper & lower decks overlooking Skydive Deland.  We watched the planes fly their pattern working their way up, when I noticed a commotion in the crowd.  Feeling like I had missed something important I tuned in to what they were saying and where they were looking. And in the sky, above the Packing Hanger, shining down on all of us and central Florida, was Gus.  Not in his human form, but in the most beautiful form of a rainbow on a cloud. The cloud prism shone so brightly over our heads, smiling in colors of red, orange, yellow, & blue.  Thankful to have seen such a sign from the heavens, I returned to watching the planes ready themselves to drop the most important load of this year.

Dropzone owner *Bob Hallett and good friend & fellow skydiver *Mark Procos, wore wrist mounted Ash Bags that would disperse Gus into the sky. The plan was to build the large formation after exit and then while in formation, at 8,000 feet, Mark & Bob were to release Gus's ashes. The first bag was released on schedule at approximately 8 grand, and the second bag, slightly delayed, was opened at approximately 6.5 grand.  The subsequent cloud in the sky remained for several minutes, sparkling and shifting in the upper winds. Even after the last jumper had touched down safely on Earth again, Gus was still in the skies, overseeing every last landing, and only leaving our sight, when all of his friends were down safely once again.

Gus's Final Flight
Ash Dive photo sent in by Rickster
Click Here for a Larger Image

Back Row: Shannon Pilcher,
Vladi Pesa, Billy Bradshaw,
Carl Daugherty, Scott Hartley,
and Maddog

Front Row: *Bob Hallett, Tim Webb,
Nat Hill, *Mark Procos, Cheryl Kenlin

Over 200 people gathered together

Norman remembers Gus and inspires an embrace between Lydia & Bill

At this point, everyone on the dropzone worked their way over to the peas, where we  had an informal ceremony in Gus's honor. John Wing, started off with some loving words for Gus and for Gus's skydiving family. He wanted to make it clear that the Wing family supports Skydive Deland and understands that Gus passed on doing something he loved. The ceremony continued with loving memories and sentiments from a great many mourners, including friends, coworkers, & neighbors.

The culmination of the evening was just after dark when there was an impromptu Rocket Launch that no one seemed to be expecting. So there we are, standing in front of the packing hanger, remember Gus & consoling each other, and up out of nowhere flys the Top Secret Spy Satellite Titan B4 on it's way to space.

The 5 minute flight to space took place in full view of everyone at the DZ.

And as Titan separated from boosters and then fired it's final ignition sequence, it was as if it let off a big white firework as it punched out of the atmosphere and into space, and at this time, Gus's brother exclaimed, "Aww Gus, NOW YOUR JUST SHOWIN' OFF!!"

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Please E-mail Contributions to Dawn Suiter