ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — The man who died after a skydiving accident at a high school football game in Jonesborough has been identified by his family.
Richard Sheffield, an Elizabethton skydiver who died at the David Crockett Musket Bowl game Friday night, is survived by his wife Kim Sheffield, his twin sons Casey and Stacey and their families.
Richard and Kim were married right after high school, this year making thirty-seven years of marriage. Kim told WATE 6 sister station News Channel 11 that the family has always been close.
“We just took care of each other and you know we are just a tight-knit family. [You] know the boys, they talked to their dad every day on the way into work in the mornings.”
It was Thanksgiving weekend in 1999 when they decided to start jumping. Richard’s dad was a paratrooper.
“And [Richard] said I wanna jump out of an airplane, you know like dad did and he said I’ve figured out how to do it and I’m gonna go, if you don’t wanna go that’s fine and I said well, I’ll try it,” said Kim.
Richard and Kim both have over twenty-five hundred jumps combined. The boys soon followed and it became a family activity.
The family was at Jump TN Sunday, a Greeneville-based skydiving company and the same company Richard jumped with the night of the accident. His son, Stacey, parachuted in the days after his dad’s death because he said he felt it was what his dad would have wanted him to do.
“It was awesome. It was, it was emotional, tough, but at the same time freeing and ya know we, I, think [Dad] would be proud,” said Stacey.
The family say they are comforted knowing Richard died doing what he loved.
“I think he didn’t want it to end the way it did, but [Richard] went out doing what he loved to do.” Kim said she wants this to be a reminder to everyone of how short life can be.
“Hug your family tighter today. Don’t take them for granted because they could be gone tomorrow. And it’s one of the toughest things I’ll go through. I don’t think I’ll ever get over it,” said Kim.