Since 1952 Bill Murray has dreamt about skydiving. He joined the military directly out of high school so he could become a paratrooper during the Korean War. Unfortunately he was rejected for wearing glasses. Bill instead served with honor as an Army infantryman.
Before retiring in 1998 Bill travelled the world as an executive with Milacron, always peering out the airplane windows to the Earth below, wondering how it would feel to freefall out of a plane, release a parachute and gently land into a grassy field.
Now the spry 86 year old is still toying with his dream. He and wife Pat live in a free-standing patio home on the campus of Chesterwood Village in West Chester. Such independent living affords him the chance to easily check out the surrounding area. That’s when he stumbled upon iFLY, the indoor skydiving attraction at nearby Liberty Center. It uses a wind tunnel that projects upward, thus elevating participants into a thrilling prone flying position.
Bill donned a flight suit over his clothes and a helmet. He was surrounded by professional skydivers who guided him through various maneuvers.
“The guys there are serious about this and about what you want to accomplish,” Bill explains. “I found out that this particular group belongs to a skydiving club in Waynesville. They really know what they’re doing.”
Then Bill mustered up the courage to ask them the million dollar question: “Do you think I can actually come out and skydive sometime?”
Bill claims one quipped, “Well, you weren’t too graceful out there but sure, you could easily do it.”
Bill’s daughter is a skydiver. He’s watched the late President George H.W. Bush make his historic jump to celebrate his 90th birthday, with other lesser-known leaps out of planes preceding it. Why couldn’t Bill accomplish a similar tandem jump with a professional beside him?
After 64 years of marriage, Bill’s wife can pretty much know what he’s thinking. After all, they’ve known each other since the eighth grade and wasted no time marrying once Bill returned from Korea and finished college—he at the University of Cincinnati; she at The Ohio State University.
“She is supportive of my skydiving. No doubt about that. Now I just need nice weather and the COVID-19 pandemic to go away.”