Ted Strong D-16 4/7/1936-10/14/2011
A visionary from the beginning and a man with an enormous heart passed away on Friday.
There are too many stories to write about the legend that is Ted Strong. Ted strived to improve the industry that he loved without seeking fame or credit. He just wanted a safer and more inviting environment for everybody to enjoy and experience skydiving the way he did.
Ted Strong started skydiving in 1958, entered the US Army in 1959 with 100 jumps, and was stationed at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY for two years. His duty there was to coach the USMA Cadet Parachute Team and the West Point Sport Parachute Club. In 1961 Ted started Strong Enterprises, a parachute company in his parents basement. He began by modifying round parachutes, sewing and making anything his friends needed to skydive. A friend once said “ Ted Strong’s company wasn’t there to make money, but to make parachutes for his friends” This quote personified Ted.
The industry and the world has lost a wonderful person and those that knew him will miss him dearly. Those that never had the pleasure of meeting him will feel his influence anytime they make a skydive.
Ted was awarded the USPA Gold Medal for Meritorious Service in 2002, “For almost a half-century of contribution to the skydiving community as a competitor, a sponsor of numerous US parachute teams, and, most notably, his unique innovation in parachute equipment design including the tandem skydiving system and its importance to the growth of the sport in general and USPA in particular.” [USPA] He was inducted into the National Skydiving Museum’s Hall of Fame last year.
Blue skies, Ted. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Strong family and the many, many people whose lives he touched.