104-year-old woman dies days after going skydiving to break Guinness World Record

Dorothy Hoffner, a remarkable 104-year-old woman from Chicago who recently attempted to set a skydiving record, passed away on a Monday morning, October 9. Unfortunately, she died before Guinness World Records could officially certify her as the oldest person to have skydived.

A close friend of hers, Joe Conant, shared that she was discovered peacefully in her sleep by the staff at the Brookdale Lake View senior living community. Conant, who was a nurse and became a close companion to Hoffner, fondly referred to her as “Grandma” at her request. He recalled her incredible energy and sharp mind, emphasizing her consistent engagement in various activities without any signs of slowing down.

On October 1, Hoffner made a tandem skydive from an astonishing 13,500 feet (4,100 meters) at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois. This courageous feat had the potential to place her in the Guinness World Records as the oldest skydiver. She expressed her philosophy on life, stating, “Age is just a number,” shortly after her triumphant landing. Remarkably, this wasn’t her first skydive; she had initially experienced the thrill at the age of 100.

Conant mentioned that Hoffner’s motivation to skydive again was purely rooted in her love for the experience, not in setting a record or gaining publicity. He emphasized her genuine desire to enjoy skydiving.

Despite her passing, both Skydive Chicago and the United States Parachute Association celebrated her adventurous spirit and acknowledged her remarkable accomplishment. They emphasized that Hoffner’s enthusiasm showcased that age should never be a barrier to pursuing the thrill of a lifetime.

Hoffner spent over four decades as a telephone operator with Illinois Bell (later AT&T) before retiring 43 years ago. She was a lifelong resident of Chicago, never married, and had no immediate family. A memorial service is planned for early November to honor her impactful and adventurous life.