WEST ALEXANDRIA — At 90 years old, O.J. Gonnella went skydiving for the second time after completing his first jump when he was 87 years old.
O.J.’s son, Gary Gonnella, said they first went skydiving three years ago because it was something that was on both of their bucket lists.
“It was a lot of fun,” Gary Gonnella said.
“We didn’t get hurt,” O.J. Gonnella said.
During their first skydiving attempt, O.J. Gonnella jumped first. Gary said he started to get nervous, but realized he could’t wimp out now that his 87-year-old father had already jumped out of the plane.
“It was a blast and we had a lot of fun,” Gary said.
O.J. Gonnella said he compares skydiving to the first drop on a roller coaster to help himself not be scared.
“I enjoyed it like a carnival ride,” O.J. said.
Gary said he enjoys the contrast between falling at 120 miles per hour and the peaceful glide after the parachute opens.
“Everything’s real quiet and there’s the world you can see,” O.J. said.
When O.J. was 90, he decided he wanted to jump again. Gary said his father skydiving is actually him being slowed down, mentioning that his father participated in things such as theatre and a barbershop quartet in years past. O.J. said he also enjoys going to the Preble County Senior Center on Thursdays to dance.
O.J. also had four children with his wife Betty. He has nine grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
“I’m afraid at my age, if I slow down, I’ll stop,” O.J. said.
Gary said they will probably continue to go skydiving for more years to come. He knows people say it’s a dangerous activity, but he said people can get hurt doing anything.
“I’d rather live fully than die safely,” Gary said. “Until you’re not afraid to die, you can’t really live.”