St. Charles Herald-Guide

Great-grandfather undeterred by recent skydiving accident

By Kyle Barnett - August 9, 2013

After the recent news that a skydiving instructor was killed and the person he was jumping tandem with was injured over the weekend in Lumberton, Miss., a Norco great-grandfather is still determined to make his way to the town famous for regional skydiving to make a jump with his granddaughter.

Will Johnson, 85, is a 60-year Norco resident who worked at Shell for decades before retiring. He put the recent accident into perspective.

“They have wrecks everyday on the highway,” he said. “I guess my family is worried, but I think it is still pretty safe.”

The initial plan was for his granddaughter, Jeanne Guillot, to do the sky dive in Lumberton, but she did not want to go it alone.  

“I guess she was talking to the family members and nobody else would talk about doing it,” Johnson said. “I told her ‘honey you get it planned and I’ll go with you!’”

Johnson’s daughter and Jeanne’s mother, Donna Guillot, said she was not surprised the two have paired up for the adventure.

“They pretty much think the same. They are both little daredevils and they both like taking a chance,” she said.Although Johnson is hesitant to call himself a daredevil, he has in the past engaged in other high-flying activities.

Most notably he, Jeanne and Donna took to the air in a Sky Coaster at the Big Kahuna Water Park in Destin. The trio were connected to a tower and dropped 110 feet in that escapade, but now Johnson and Jeanne are stepping it up to 15,000 feet. This time there won’t be any wire to fall back on.

Johnson said he thinks the sky dive will prove to be a much different experience than the Sky Coaster.

“This will be the first time I ever did something I consider radical,” he said.

The pair were originally scheduled to jump the last weekend of July, but that trip was cancelled by rain.

“I was talking to a friend and she said if it storms again that is an omen. You are not going to do it,” he said.

Despite their unwillingness  to join in the jump, Johnson said much of his family including his daughter, step-daughter, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren will make the trip with them for support.

“They plan to be there and plan to bring plenty of wine and cameras,” he said.

Donna said after she heard the news about last week’s accident, she has become more worried.

“(Dad) said this could happen anywhere, anytime. I am still praying though,” she said.

Johnson said he will not be thinking about what could go wrong when he and Jeanne make the trip to Lumberton next week for the jump.

“I don’t have a whole lot of time left, so I’ve got to go ahead and do it,” he said.

Great-grandfather undeterred by recent  skydiving accident