Source: Sherman Publications

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Happy 91st birthday, now open your parachute!

August 17, 2011

Florence Hill, of Orion Township, celebrated her 91st birthday by skydiving. She will recount her thrilling aerial experience at the Lake Orion Senior Center on Aug. 18 at 2 p.m.
By Megan Bildner

Review Intern

Jumping out of a plane?

When most people think of how to celebrate their birthday, few think of such a stunt let alone someone who is turning 91.

But that is exactly what Florence Hill, of Orion Township, wanted to add to her long list of personal accomplishments. She added skydiving to her feats on July 31, jumping out of an airplane at 14,000 feet.

Accompanied by her friends and family, Hill ventured to Sky Tecumseh which is located about an hour southwest of Ann Arbor. A former pilot, Hill was not nervous or anxious while preparing for her dive, which she had thought about doing for 30 years.

"When we got ready to jump out of the plane, the instructor told me to sit down and scoot up to the edge of the open plane door," Hill said. "I looked right at him and told him I thought this was skydiving? I want to dive out!"

When the senior skydiver landed on the ground, her family was waiting with a birthday cake to celebrate the occasion. In the past, Hill celebrated birthdays by sailing off the coast of Maine, scuba diving in California and hiking in the Appalachian Mountains.

Hill has always had a passion for adventurous activities. In her younger years, she was a trail rider, where she rode horses and lived off the land with a group of 15 others in the wilderness of Wyoming, Idaho and Colorado.

"One of the scariest things I've ever done was rafting 315 miles through the Grand Canyon," explained Hill. "I was much more scared during that trip than when I was skydiving. I'd definitely skydive again any day."

Growing up, Hill says she received her adventurous side from her grandmother, but was inspired to live on the edge by her father. He always wanted to backpack in Alaska but never fulfilled his dream of doing so.

It was then that Hill realized that life is too short to sit around and wait for things to happen. "When I want to do something, I do it," she said.

Hill will be sharing her skydiving experience, followed by a short inspirational seminar, at the Lake Orion Senior Center at 2 p.m. on August 18.

Anyone interested in following in Hill's footsteps can contact Skydive Tecumseh at (517) 423-7720. Jumps take place Wednesday through Friday, from 12-7 p.m. and weekends, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.