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‘He jumped for her’: 94-year-old man goes skydiving to honour late wife

Tara Kleier's 94-year-old grandfather went skydiving in honour of his late wife, Betty.
Tara Kleier's 94-year-old grandfather went skydiving in honour of his late wife, Betty. Tara Kleier

After his wife of 75 years died in January, Paul Grimme was devastated. To honour her life, he did something he had never done before — jump from a plane.

On Sept. 29, the 94-year-old traded in his walker for a plane and went skydiving in Connecticut with his granddaughter, Tara Kleier.

According to Kleier, the jump was was meant to celebrate not only his late wife’s life but also his recent birthday and their 75th wedding anniversary on Sept. 28.

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Kleier said her grandfather was very surprised when she and his five living children chipped in on the skydiving trip as a gift.

“I said: ‘I got us tickets to go skydiving,'” she told Global News. “And I asked: ‘Will you go?’ and he said: ‘Hell yeah, I will go.'”

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Last year, Kleier says, her cousin went skydiving, and Grimme mentioned that it seemed like a neat experience. At that time, Kleier says her grandfather spent his days visiting his wife, who was just shy of 94 years old when she passed away.

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“Although he was the first out of the plane, he was the second to last to land,” she said. “They held me back in the air so I could watch him as he landed.”

It was a moment Kleier will never forget.

“Once they got the harness I was wearing loosened, I ran to him. He had the biggest smile on his face,” she said. “He was just in awe. He said he thought my grandma would be there, ‘but I didn’t see her,’ he said.”

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Kleier says her grandmother, Betty, had been in nursing homes for years. She had dementia and couldn’t talk much, “but that didn’t stop him from going to see her every single day,” Kleier said.

“[My family], along with my grandfather, were at her bedside with her when she passed,” she said. “All he kept saying to her as she was dying, as he stroked her hair, was ‘I love you, Bea. I love you.'”

“That is why he jumped for her,” she said. “His love for her was obvious and so strong.”

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

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