Gene Paul Thacker, of Raeford, NC passed away this morning.
Gene Paul was one of the legends of this sport, starting his jumping career in the Army in 1954. He went on to coaching world class athletes like Cheryl Stearns and the Golden Knights. Thacker started up the Raeford Parachute Center in the early 70’s, received an USPA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004 for his contributions to the sport, the organization and the skydiving community as a whole, both as an athlete and coach.
Gene Paul worked tirelessly on behalf of the Skydiving Museum and was inducted into the Skydiving Museum’s Hall of Fame in 2010.
To sum it up, the guy was an all around general bad-ass, who spoke his mind and got things done. The sport of skydiving is richer for having had Gene Paul Thacker dedicate a large part of his life and energy to further matters he took to heart.
Our thoughts are with family and friends in Raeford and all around the world.
Rest in peace.