By Resident Flo Lentz with contributions by staff
Here at Bayview, Kathryn “Kitty” Hodges is well known for her lively sense of humor. But she is also daring. One feat that has brought her to fame: skydiving. On Thursday, August 15, 2019 at Skydive Snohomish, 103-year old Kitty broke the Guinness World Record for the oldest person to tandem skydive. Some would consider this a defining moment of one’s life. However, for Kitty, fulfilling this skydiving dream comes after a series of defining moments of life experiences and hard work. Kitty was born on April 9, 1916 in Tacoma, Washington. We asked, “Tacoma, not Seattle?”
“Oh yes, she answered, “I insisted on Tacoma.” Kitty was the oldest of five daughters. When Kitty reached high school age, she took up swimming for the first time and loved it! Swimming became her favorite sport and changed what she perceived as possible. Kitty attended the University of Washington (UW), where she met her husband, Warren. They were married for 66 years and raised 5 sons. He passed away at the age of 93. Kitty completed a Master of Fine Arts degree and spent her career teaching at UW and Seattle Pacific College. Her love for painting and the arts continues to this day.
Kitty acknowledges that in this period of her life, there have been challenges, including her gradual loss of sight and mobility. However, at the decent of her freefall and unfazed by the world record attempt, Kitty felt a sense of much needed liberation. “It was so awe inspiring,” her son Norm says, “I left that day knowing that anything is possible when a 103 year-old can jump out of an airplane and get on the ground safely.”
Kitty has made a big impact on the Bayview community. She says, “I’m really not so special! Bayview is full of special people.” Her advice for younger generations: “Try everything. Be as good as you can but also have as much fun as you can.”
The official world record can be found here.
The oldest person to tandem parachute jump (female) is Kathryn “Kitty” Hodges (USA, b.9 April 1916) who is 103 years and 129 days old, as verified in Snohomish, Washington, USA, on 15 August 2019. Kathryn Hodges decided to go skydiving for the first time because her oldest son, Warren Hodges, is an avid tandem skydiver and she wanted to see what fueled his passion for the sport. She was accompanied by her two sons and granddaughter.
Check out our latest AgeUp Podcast which features Kitty Hodges and her son, Norm!