Audre Babb, lifelong resident of Cambridge, took to the sky to honor her daughter who died in September 2018.
“I had also jumped about 16 years ago, but this jump was different — I did it with family and we did it in honor of my daughter Karin that passed away who just loved skydiving,” Babb said.
Babb’s youngest daughter, Judy, has also been skydiving for years and has accumulated a total of 48 hours in free-fall, equating to approximately 2,500 jumps. Judy was being honored with a certificate of achievement for the United States Parachute Association, which triggered the family’s desire to venture down to Tennessee to embark on their own adventure.
Babb, along with her daughter Dina Denne and granddaughters Erin Ellis, Danielle Ziebarth and Jordyn Denne, traveled 850 miles to celebrate the achievement with Judy and decided to jump themselves on June 21.
Although the weather at the drop zone was rough and ended up delaying the jump time by several hours, the group was able to proceed after the weather cleared.
At around 1:30 p.m. Babb and her family received word that the jump could proceed, according to Dina Denne.
Babb, along a few others from the group, received a brief training on how to tandem dive, suited up and loaded into the plane.
According to Dina Denne, the plane took off at 2:02 p.m. and by 2:12 p.m. it had reached 14,500 feet.
“Danielle jumped first, quickly followed by Jordyn, Dina, Audre and Judy,” Dina Denne wrote in an email. “Erin rode the plane to the ground, landing before any of the jumpers touched down.”
Ellis was the designated family photographer and videographer. The group also had photos and videos professionally taken during the jump.
“We’ve all got photo and videos of our dives,” Babb said. “I’ve shown all my friends, and my family has already seen them.”
During the jump Babb was the last to land, allowing everyone to see her land safely on the ground on her feet.
Dina Denne said the round of hugs and high-fives completed the experience, all in honor of Karin’s memory.
“I am sure she was with us that day, smiling down, and I hope we made her proud,” Dina Denne wrote.
“It’s such an experience, I don’t like heights, I don’t like planes, but it was so much fun,” Babb said. “The free-fall this time was a lot different — I think the last time I closed my eyes.
“Lots of people say they’d never do that, but those same people are out climbing rocks — you’d never catch me climbing rocks,” Babb added.
Although Babb has experienced the thrill twice in her lifetime, she isn’t going to be making it a hobby.
“Skydiving isn’t something I’m going to make a practice of, but if I make it to 90, I might go again, if I can get in the plane,” Babb said. “The view, if you’re brave enough to look down, is amazing.”