I met Jan at the rec.skydiving boogie at Sebastian in February of 2000,
the same time that I met Rita, Jimbo, Bill, Charm, James and several
other great people. Rita talked me into going to that boogie, and I was
very glad that she did. It was my first "far away" boogie, my first
real camera footage and my first pics, all by Jan Davis. It probably
sounds silly, but as a new skydiver, it felt like an honor to be able to
jump with people with such a long and colorful skydiving history: the
Flying Elvises, people with years of skydiving experience...with broken
legs and hips and other damaged body parts... who seemed to enjoy the
sport so much that it seemed to me as though they wouldn't dream of
living life without skydiving.
And Jan was one of them. I only met Jan the one time, but I felt I
knew her as a fellow skydiver, the same way I think most people feel
when they meet while skydiving. Jan was everything everyone else has
said about her on the ng...she was a character....and that is what made
her special....full of life and enthusiasm for skydiving. I remember
the skydive where she took out Jimbo, on purpose, of course, just for
fun, and how everyone including Jan made sure to let me in on it so it
wouldn't surprise me. Then they spent the rest of the skydive chasing
each other around in the sky...and I spent the rest of that dive
checking out how my reserve flew. And the pieing, and the crazy
pictures she hung up of Jimbo in the restrooms......what memories she
made for me. I have her video of the rec.skydiving boogie 2000, and it
will serve to remind me of all the fun and energy and creativity that
she put into skydiving and video flying. I will especially remember her
every time I see that video or those pics, or think about all the
wonderful people that I met at my first rec.skydiving boogie and how
each of them contributed to making it the wonderful experience that it
was for me.
Someone told me when I started jumping that, if I kept jumping,
eventually I would have had friends who would have died skydiving.
Funny that it was only the other day that I was thinking how fortunate I
was because that prediction hadn't come true. Then Rita called me
Sunday, very upset, and told me about Jan's accident. Now, regretfully,
I will also remember Jan as the first brave soul that I knew who lost
her life doing what she loved. It just must have been her time...and I
will make it a point to remember that she was fortunate enough to have
been doing what she loved when she kept that appointment....
Blue Skies Jan,
We are all deeply saddened by the loss of Jan to your family and ours.
Jan and most of us have been chatting for years on this system. It is with a
heavy heart that I now strike her name off my buddy list, knowing that I will
never again see her on to banter with back and forth.
Mike Turoff, Instructor Examiner, Skydive Houston.
Grazing the NG response to the recent passing of Jan Davis spurred many
memories. I don't consider myself a close
confidant of Jan's inner circle, but then Jan didn't have one to speak
of. She liked to share herself with the many mostly
through the News Group and boogies she attended. For what it's worth. I
would like to share some personal memories of
Jan for no other reason than it might jangle others to share.
In person, my first impression of Jan was that she was one rough, tough
bird not to be fooled with. In all honesty, she kind
of scared me. That exterior stood in guard of her real sensitive side
that didn't easily show, especially to strangers. Soon
there will be the third annual KDFC Boogie to celebrate the wonderful
Kathy Dause. Jan organized the first KDFC Boogie.
There were a few problems here and there, but Jan busted her butt and
took it all on herself with the help of those she could
corner for pedestrian duties. I did the press releases.
Mike Spurgeon, Jan Davis and several other locals were going to the
"POP'S" World Boogie in Chiliwack B.C. and they both encouraged me to
attend. I had such a blast meeting many of skydiving's legends. In
Canada, getting a "10 way" number is a major thing and
most the skydives I did were larger formations several of which Jan shot
on video. I was so knocked out by the beauty of
the landscape and the warmth of our Canadian hosts. I have a very low
"POP'S" number thanks to that boogie, 284, I think.
Jan often would do video for us "Lodi Rocks", we fall fast and Jan liked
to keep up. It was often a pleasant surprise to hear
her name with our group as the manifest was read over the P.A. system.
One such skydive was at the first KDFC Boogie
but this was to be our first "Ash Memorial" for our dear Marianne who
passed away suddenly. We were aboard the visiting
Monterey Otter and very pleased to be nearly 17K at exit. Good thing
too, because we were about five miles Southwest of
the spot. Jan's still camera jammed, but we had another camera in the
formation. Jan was the only one who realized how
poor the spot was and was also the only one to make it back to the DZ.
Jan also shot our Y2K midnight skydive. That was my last DC3 skydive.
It was a once in a lifetime jump and I'm glad she
Finally, I was the first to see Jan at our DZ after her father passed
away. I gave her a hug, and we talked a long while about
things that really matter at such times. I know that she loved her
family, our sport and life. I know that if we had a
celebration of her life, she would want it to be a skydive. So go and
make one for Jan ...
I've been thinking about Jan quite a bit lately.
She's the one who insisted that Todd & I go to Lodi. She said we'd love it
there, because she did. I thought "You don't love anything, Jan. You too
tough to love."
Jan told me around the time she hit 1000 jumps about being pied. She said she
was afraid someone would pie her & made me swear to tell noone. I must have
been having a blonde day as I didn't get it. I think she wanted pied. I
didn't tell a soul but I did grab one of those Hostess pie thingies & slipped
it to her. She cackled so hard I thought she was going to fall off the picnic
table. I thought "Jan you sound like Harvey!" Harvey was her red macaw.
She was there at Lodi the first time I jumped there. The time I flared too
high & ended up with two sprained ankles, two bruised heel bones & road rash on
my arm & shoulder from the plf. She told me "Well, you walked off the field,
it can't be _that_ bad, you poosie!" I thought "Oh Jesus, I'm gonna spend
weeks waddling like you."
There's the time she flew video for Todd & I. And I forgot to pull my legs up
on exit & flipped Todd. I remember Jan's comment to me when we got on the
ground. "Nice Fruit Loop! Next time let me know when you decide to go head
down on exit, you little twit!"
Then there was the time she took out the three way. Started as a four way but
Alex went low. Jeff & I were able to get to Peri, who had like 50 jumps. Jan
came in a little too fast & blew right through. She grabbed Peri on the way
through. Jeff & I sure didn't want to take out the videiot so we sort of
played tag around them for the rest of the dive.
The day her "little brother" came to Lodi with his girlfriend & did a tandem.
:) Jan was so proud of him! She kept saying, "That's my kid brother. Ain't
he gorgeous?" & "Hey, did you meet my brother? He's making a tandem." or
"See the gorgeous guy over there? That's my brother. He's here to do a tandem
& I'm gonna video it." Then there was her dad. She kept a picture of him in
her locker, at her eye level. She'd boast, "That's my dad on his Harley!" She
& Gwen sounded a lot alike & seemed to clash, but she was so proud that her
sister was a attorney in SF. I think, it must be great to have family you can
be proud of. :)
But the most memorable has to be Quincy last year. 5way with Jan on video.
23,000 outta Mullins' King Air. I believe Jan was to go out backward followed
by Todd, Chris Grrr, me, Ann Poblenz, & David Feree.? Well, being the optimist
she was, Jan didn't think she'd have enough time to get her helmet on once Mike
said "put the oxygen masks up" & "exit, exit, exit". So, she put her helmet on
early. Well, as we later determined, this didn't allow her to get a good seal
on her mask & she got a bit hypoxic. When Mike said to exit Jan had a hard
time getting to the door. When she did she tried to back out to catch us as we
came out, she lost her balance & fell out. Oh the look on Jan's face was
priceless! Total surprise, like a kid getting caught with their hand in the
candy jar right before dinner. Some of us were all confused, because Chris had
forgot to put his helmet & goggles on, & didn't exit the way we were supposed
to. Luckily someone, David?, just went & the rest of us followed. Grrr
tumbled trying to get his goggles on & his helmet into his jumpsuit. I think
we got 2 points on the rotating spider. I remember David letting go just after
Todd went low & right before I arched to get to him. Poor little Ann was
headdown, as I didn't let go of her before I arched ;) I know Jan said she
sort of blacked out & I know she regained before break off but I don't remember
exactly when it was. That was great fun!!
Sorry this is so long. I just had to share some of the highlights that made me
Thanks for the memories Bird Lady. May you fly Forever Free!
I'm sure i speak for all of Jans friends in saying we all are the
better for have known her. She was like a sister and mom to more
than one skydiver. Her laugh, well was special as it was special as
it was contagous. Her heart was gold and her smile reassuring. Our
rec skydive boogie will be renamed to help us to remember her and
her attitudes toward newbies and old outlaws. If there is anything
we can do to help I'm sure you'll have a casa load of ppl to help.
thanks for sharing your sister with us. I'm proud to have shared some
air with her as well as a laugh,
I only hung with her a little at Quincy last year, at the low-timers
tent, having met her at the KDFC boogie last May. I swear, I've had my
best times as a skydiver at Lodi, and Jan was a big part of that. I'm
going to miss her.
I had the honour of meeting Jan at a POPS meet
and she was a great soul. We shared bad hip stories and laughed about our
landings (I too had to slide in due to hip problems).
I guess God needed some camera flyers, he sure got a good one in Jan
Hello all of you skydivers who knew my sister, Jan Davis, AKA flyincamra.
It is very late now I've spent the day at her house with my brothers trying to
prepare her "arrangements" as they call them and to hook up with her friends
via her AOL account. Haven't made much headway yet, but hope that I might
connect with people via this newsgroup. Right now I'm exhausted and dumb with
grief, but I hope to post more later and look forward to hearing from those of
you who knew my sis. We haven't read all the posts yet but please know that
they mean so very much to us. Jan was only two years younger than me and we
grew up together for 10 years before our brothers were born. We lost our
mother to cancer and less than a year ago we lost our father in a motorcycle
accident. His birthday was yesterday; April 2 and Jan's 50th birthday would
have been April the 12th. So this is a pretty damn tough time for us the 3
survivors my two brothers Tim and Jeff and I.
I don't know if there is a way to post to Jan's website but I'm trying to
arrange it. Meanwhile please visit it because her spirit definitely shines
The address is: http://birdwalk.com/DevilsWorkshop/index.html
Skydiving was her supreme passion.
I love her and miss her.
Well!! I have the bragging rights to the fact that I got the duty of setting
up the pieing of Jan.
I subbed out the delivery to someone else ..... But I said, "Jan; I'm
considering buying a rare bird, and would like some input. Can we go outside in
the fresh air and chat?" Great bait, eh?
It was superb to watch the delivery person approach, as i sat there leaning
my head on the palm of my hand, while Jan just rattled on about the serious
responsibility that owning a rare pet pet can be: "You have to understand,
Duke, These aren't like dogs and cats. You have to really be *SMACK*!!!
BWAAA HA HA HA HA HAAA!!!
I think I heard, muffled through the whipped cream. "You little shit!!"
I stood proudly as she playfully kicked me in the shin! What a great sport!
Jan started jumping a short while after me, both of us learning
at Hollister, CA. I remember early on there was a weekend where
she was frustrated learning RW and we did some practice jumps
together. She seemed like an improbable skydiver, with her slow
walk and heavy build. This is where I saw her determination to
overcome obstacles for the first time - she never had any doubt
that she would succeed, she just kept trying until she got it.
She soon started logging large numbers of jumps. She lived close
to the drop zone, and would get calls during the week when they
needed people to pull together enough to launch the plane. In a
relatively short period of time, she was up to hundreds of jumps.
She regularly offered her pool for water training classes, and it
became an initiation rite for new students to head over to her
place to jump off her diving board, then drink beer and eat
I can't think of Jan and her skydiving without also thinking of
her birds. She had a number of birds, but all the ones I saw were
either caged or had clipped wings. She had a successful business
building playthings for grounded birds - things like a shopping
cart they could walk behind and push, and a miniature basketball
set they could drop a ball into. In contrast to the active sports
lives of her earthbound birds, Jan's walk was slow due to her hip
problems - Jan's greatest mobility was when she was flying
through the air. It seemed to me as if, in giving the birds these
earthbound toys and clipping their wings, she had taken their
flight from them, for her own use, for her own freedom.
I have fond memories of a number of jumps with Jan. On one, we
went out face to face. I ended up flying on my belly and she was
flying on her back, both of us face-to-face. We let go of each
other, and she very slowly fell away from me, flying on her back,
looking up at me, and maintaining eye contact throughout. It was
completely surreal. We fell like this for what seemed a long time
- maybe five thousand feet - until finally she was about 50 feet
below me, then we hit breakoff altitude and tracked away.
On another occasion, when she was starting to camera fly, we did
a fun jump with me sit flying. I had a ferocious fall rate and
Jan was struggling to catch up. I showed my sister the tape
later, and she said I seemed to be having an incredible amount of
fun, but why was I laughing all the way through the skydive? Of
course the reason was that I was watching Jan try to catch me!
Another time, we joined a huge sunset load organized by Greg
Nardi at Hollister. The sun was just about to set as we exited
the plane, and because of unusual atmospheric condition, the
entire sky was absolutely on fire with brilliant oranges and
reds. After exiting, the entire group formed a long line, just
facing west and watching the sun set. After we landed, the sky
was completely filled with this spectacular sunset. We were all
just standing around staring at it for about 15 minutes. When the
sky finally darkened, I remember Jan saying "Great skydiving and
wonderful friends - it doesn't get any better than this!"
A while after this, we both started jumping at other drop zones,
and I would only see her at boogies. The last time I saw her was
in the summer at Quincy. We were both waiting to load. Jan was
having a smoke before the plane, and she grumbled about the heat,
complained about the crowds and bitched about the distance she
had to walk between things. So I asked her if skydiving was still
fun, and then she broke out this big smile and admitted she was
having a blast.
Two weeks ago, my main was out for a re-line, and I was jumping a
rented student rig, with a red and black Falcon main. I commented
to Sunset Bill how rare it was to see a main with that color
scheme, and he laughed and said it was Jan's old original canopy,
and he couldn't count the number of times he'd packed it for her.
I had planned to email Jan and tell her I'd jumped her first
parachute and that the openings were still great, but sadly that
opportunity is now gone.
Jan was a unique, special person, and I will miss her. Rest
peacefully, dear friend ...
So sad to lose Jan.
On this forum of frequent mindless bs, she usually made sense. And when she
didn't, she was still entertaining.
I was out at San Francisco airport on Monday and ran into another pilot that
jumps at Lodi.. He was telling me about somebody going in on Sat. due to the
reserve snagging on a camera after a cutaway.. I was in a hurry, so we only got
to talk for a couple minutes, and he didn't know who it was, or even if it was
a male or female.. I thought back to some of the recent posts regarding the
fatality in NC, and Jan's comments on the camera helmets.. It never occured to
me until we were already airborne that it could have been Jan that went in.. I
decided it couldn't have been Jan..
When I got home today, I logged on to find 5 e-mails detailing what happened..
I couldn't believe it.. With several of the posts dated April 1, I thought it
was somebody's idea of a sick April Fool's joke.. It really sank in when I hit
Jan Meyer's web site and saw it there..
I have chatted with Jan for about 6 months, via ng, email, and IM's, but didn't
meet her until the rec.skydiving boogie last month.. We all spent a lot of time
BS'ing, having a good time, and a little bit of drinking.. We sat around
talking for quite a while at dinner each night.. Jan and I talked a lot about
camera flying, as I was considering getting a camera just for my own use.. I
think I'll forget about that for a while..
Jan pointed out a couple of things that I was doing wrong on the skydives that
I never realized was happening.. I appreciated that.. After my little runway
incident, she called me 'rash' for the rest of the weekend.. She even had a
little commentary about it on video..
I didn't know Jan as well as some people here, but I will definitely miss her..
I had planned on going out to Lodi in a couple months, combining a few days of
jumping there with visiting my parents in SoCal.. I think I will now try to
plan on making that trip coincide with the KDFC boogie commemorating Jan.. I'm
still devastated, and in somewhat of a state of disbelief.. I've read all the
articles published in the various newspapers, and read all the posts here on
the NG, and I still can't believe it..
She won't be having problems with those hips anymore, and won't need all that
pain medication.. It's the only good thing I can think of right now..
Fly free, Jan.. You'll be missed..
The first time I was down at Jan's place in February, The first thing we did
was prop ourselves up on her bed with our drinks and work our way through the
rec.skydiving boogie tape. She was so proud of that work. I think she told me
she'd never flown camera on CRW before and was all sorts of nervous. She also
had stories about all the folks on the tape. I'm sorry I don't remember more.
When she came back from the last rec.skydiving boogie she was all excited
because she had new software that would allow her to mix down the whole thing
on her Mac. Sadly, she never finished. I'm sure the raw footage is still on her
As stated in another post, Jan didn't sit in front of the camera, she
preferred the other side.
I probably own the only video of Jam flying for 6 minutes. Granted, it was
in the wind tunnel at Orlando Florida during the 1st (goat) boogie , still
it has her trying to adapt to the flow, just as she did on real jumps.
I remember when Rita girl broke the tunnel, Jan left and changed jump suits,
she didn't like the one she was wearing.
Kurt from Long Island, remarked in a post shortly after the boogie how her
arms and legs flailed about, but her head remained still, the sign of a good
camera flyer he said. I offered Jan a copy of the video and can't remember
her exact words, but it was along the line of, if the video got taped over
she wouldn't mind at all.
Too bad Jan, I still have it :-)
I didn't have time, but I watched her rec.skydiving video again last night,
anyway. It really was well done...with great music. I loved it when I got
it. If her dz has a memorial for her, I hope they play her videos. That video
and music seemed to capture a little bit of what skydiving and life in general
seem to me to be about in some sense, and maybe what she felt about it, too. I
remember Jimbo saying to me at the boogie..."this is what skydiving is really
about," and he was referring to all the people that he knew from skydiving.
And I was thinking also that we will miss her a lot at those boogies that she
liked to go to, and I'm sure her home dz will miss her. I agree with Ty (see
text copied below). It would be nice if someone who knew her well would be
able to ask her family for access to her last video, finish it for her, and use
any money that it might generate for something Jan would have appreciated as a
memorial to her. Although, I remember how funny she was about not letting
anyone touch her equipment...it would be a first! But in this case, I think
she would approve.
I only knew Jan from the news groups, but she was one of the names I'd
look for when I was scanning through messages.
I'll miss her.
My thoughts go out to her friends and family.
Blue Skies and Soft landings Jan,
My deepest condolences to her family here and at dz's all over the US..
Blue skies forever Jan
I am really sorry to read this about Jan. I had known her through the newsgroup
and Drop Zone chat rooms for the past 3 years or so, but finally got to meet
her in person at the Mardi Gras boogie a little more than a month ago at Gold
Coast Skydivers. She was a really nice person to talk to. I am fortunate that I
was able to meet her before her time was up, but unfortunate that I won't see
her again. My sincere condolences to everyone.
Sad Blue Skies
I too remember first dives with
Jan. ROFLAMO. The first dive with Jan no wieghts but they told us we needed
them. We had so much fun. The second dive we listened. LOL, I guess my
wieghts out did her (bleep). She couldn't catch me. We laughed about that for
years. As far as I see it Jan did everything right and then some. Silver
linings my friend.
Kori : )
There is nothing I can add here about Jan, so many of you have already said
it all. Spunky, funny, tough, carefree, great singer, great friend the list
goes on and on, she was all that and more and such a great ballbuster too.
I'll miss meeting up with her as our paths crossed on both coasts over the
Sad news indeed.
Like many in the newsgroup the news of Jan's death
came as a total shock. Unfortunately I never had the
opportunity to meet her. I got to know her in the Drop
Zone Chatroom on AOL back when it was a weekly thing.
As mentioned by Arlo, she used to beat up on us guys
quite regularly. She and I also exchanged a lot of
Instant Messages. We would discuss skydiving, life in
general, relationships and just about everything.
She was always trying to get me to go to a
rec.skydiving boogie or come out to the KDFC boogie.
Unfortunately I couldn't due to team and other
commitments or lack of vacation time and/or funds. One
time it looked like I was actually going to get to
meet her at a boogie in Indiana. I had a business trip
around that time and could finagle my way over there.
We were both pretty excited. That was around the time
her father died. She and I had some pretty long
discussions about that so I really wanted to make the
boogie and finally meet her. However the biz trip got
I never thought I'd hear the end of it. It cost me a
dozen roses and I still wasn't really off the hook.
Some day when I finally do get to meet her I guarantee
first thing she's going to do is bust my chops about
not making any of the boogies.
She even honored me by altering a pic of me and adding
it to her collection on the Jan Devil web site. She
was even nice enough to send a copy to my team so they
could enjoy it too. We all got a big laugh out of it.
I have read quite a few posts mentioning Jan being
tough as nails but also a very caring person. Through
our discussions that's the Jan I got to know too. I
know she was not someone you wanted to take advantage
of and piss off. I also know she was a caring person
that would help you any way that she could as
evidenced by some of the newer folks that have posted
that she helped along.
Jan did not like skygods and believed that experienced
jumpers should help the newbies along. If anyone is
wondering what to do in rememberance of Jan I think
they should take Bill's (Bodypilot90)advice and adopt
a newbie. I believe that's what she would like best.
Eternal Blue ones Jan. I'm truly sorry I never got to
meet you in person.
anyone remember Jan's rule#1
i can still hear her yelling out......."come break off I own the
center, the camera owns the center"
one of the last jumps we heard about jan's rule #2
we had a 12 way i believe and she was filming when we got to tude the
group scrambled to the ramp of the casa leaving poor jan about pushed
off the ramp. on exit i got to see Jan fliping a few times. she saw
me smiling and fliped me the bird. When we got to the packing area
she yelled "Jan's rule #2 wait till I get on the ramp before you
start pushing and shoving"
also remember her story about falling off the otter at national the
team said "we've been trying to get rid of her all day"
then a newbie was doing a drill dive with her. rotating sidebodies,
and the newbie latched on to her pilot chute. lol newbie handed it
to jan at 8000 feet. it was a long ride down :)
was that you marcie?
blue skies my friend
Rememberances Part 1
Rememberances Part 3
Biography of Jan Davis
Send Your Rememberance