John Hanson Schuman January 19, 1951 to March 21, 1998
Memory Book
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John was a product of the 1960's and 1970's, the era of personal discoveries. He was molded by the political and social forces of those times. Skydiving was just one of many personal discoveries and passovers. He always remained a true believer. In fact, I once commented to him over a beer wit our fellow skydivers that he "liked 1975 so much that he decided never to leave". He just grinned his big smile. Most assuredly he will be missed. His uniqueness provided the newer generations of sky explorers a window into the past and that despite all the changes that have occurred in skydiving with technology, procedures, etc. one thing remained absolutely unchanged: "the sheer joy of falling free."
Bruce Bradshaw

Belinda, I will always remember the tremendous love you and John shared and the way you openly shared and expressed it with us. Sean remembers the larger-than-life John with the easy-going sense of humor who was willing to play along. You've done great things for this man in the last few days just as you did in all of your time together. You're awesome and we love you.
Paula and Sean

Belinda, Perfect soul mates are never truly parted -- I wish you peace -- it will come.
Love always,
Kristen Garrison

The greatest thing about John is the fact that he made an impact on everyone he ever met. He will never be forgotten which is something not everyone can say.
Steve Garrison

John had really spoiled me when we jumped together; I think we had a great inner conection and despite our enormous difference in skydiving experience he was able to raise me to his level to enjoy the sport like he did ... and it started when I was still a student with 15 jumps and he taught and showed me personally how to sit-fly and stand up with 20 jumps total. It was his accomplishment, not mine!
Hubert Trimmel
"I love you man" was what John lived by. He expressed it in flying free. There was no fear flying with him ever -- just fun.
Luv you man,

John will always be the BEST husband in the world. He will always be your boy and he will always know that he was loved completely by you....and Kris Kristofferson pales in comparison to your boy.

Whenever I went for a visit, he always went out of his way for everyone. He was a happy-go-lucky man. For my uncle -- he was a crazy man, but one of the most favorite person that I know to be around. If I ever needed anything, he'd be here. I love you, John.
Adrianna Cherry

John trying to teach me to sit fly and how he laughed at my first attempt. But so good natured I had to try again. I did finally get it. Thanks, John. He was so proud when I told him he loved introducing people to vertical work.
Cathi Smith

John loved his sport so much and actually shared his enthusiasm for it so much with anyone he could. He used to get me, a rookie to the sport, even more excited that I thought to be possible.

What I will never forget about my Uncle John is the fact that he taught me the art of art. He, being an artist, really let me see that art was a wonderful gift to have and how to use that gift. He will love and live on through my artwork. He was a very talented man. We love you, John.

My fondest memory of John relates to the day I met him. It was his wedding day. As Belinda introduced me to him, and we three chatted, he looked into Belinda's eyes with such love, that I felt in my heart immediately "this is a perfect match."

Gee, there are so many. he was the first one who saw that I was serious about jumping -- so he and all the guys had an agreement not to try to "date" me so they wouldn't run me off. I was so mad when I found out because they were all so cute. But then they became my best friends and I was grateful to John for being the first to take me seriously.
Cindy Clark-Maddox

I read rec.skydiving and found news about plane crash last weekend. I was sad when I found familiar name, John Schuman listed as one of those who died. I did have only one short phone conversation with him when he shipped my new rig to me, when you were here. I get picture of nice person willing to help, no matter he didn't even know me. What I read from posts about him, he was kind of person I would like to know better, willing to help others and having good spirit.
Pauli Sillanpaa
Tampere, Finland

Summer 1994: I remember when I saw John at Quantum Leap Skydiving Center in Sullivan MO. At the time, he was helping Doug Marion get around and meet as many people as possible to work his way towards central conference director. Actually, I thought John himself was deserving of that position since he had been around skydiving so long.

I wanted to practice my head-down fallrate and proximity control with John falling as base. At first, he didn't know how he would be able to keep up a fast enough fallrate and then with some quick ingenuity he thought that he would just sit up and tuck his legs under himself. During the dive, he sat up and I began working towards him in my head-down approach. I was concentrating hard on my proximity and fallrate control. When we landed, John was astonished in exactly the same way that I was back in December 1993 when Philippe Vallaud went into a head-down position by surprise just in front of me. Just as I had stopped functioning normally in my excitement, John couldn't sleep that night and in the following week drew an illustration in remembrance of our jump. I still keep that illustration close to me. (It traveled with me everywhere in the world where I taught freestyle courses.) From then on, I wanted to teach John everything I knew about VRW to share with him the joys of freeflying. I strongly emphasized the basics as with those well learned, I knew John would be so thrilled to experience a completely free world of 3D flight. I had chosen John because I could feel that he really liked it.

I, now, realize that I wasn't catching on to the idea that John enjoyed every dive no matter what. I think this was mostly because I was so competitive in freestyle and also I'm younger in the sport and in life in general and have not yet come to that phase. I became so focused on wanting to show him the cool stuff the Philippe Vallaud did with me in December 1993.

Tamara Koyn

Spring 1995: John invited me out to the Greater Kansas City Skydiving Club for my first visit there to teach a half day class on Cross Training and a modified version of the original MEES program. The weather was poor that weekend and as John drove me about picking up meals, etc., I caught on to the realization that the GKCSC was just about right in Kansas City. He began to tell me about the night jumps and I remember him gesturing his hand painting the magical glow of the lights over the houses from his fingers as we drove in the night.

I'd wanted to do night jumps over a city since 1985 and during that coming week John told me on the phone, "you're never going to jump if you don't come on out!" as we discussed the possible deteriorating weekend weather forecast. During the night jumps, John spoke of the gremlins in his characteristic way. He saw how the city was like a galaxy and that the shopping mall looking like a star ship. In fact, he told me how he saw Kansas City as a distant galaxy when he made night jumps at a DZ (Harison?? was it??) farther away than GKCSC before GKCSC opened its doors.

Each time, I came out to GKCSC, John always made me feel welcome. "GKCSC is the place for the 'refugee skydivers,'" he always told me. I always walked onto the DZ smiling. We ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner together and walked together telling skydiving stories and how it "felt" to be doing the various dives. We shared our problems in close company as well.

One day, returning to the airport it was very windy. John told me about how you can lean really forward in the wind if you find the right hills at the right angles. He told me about the cliffs in Ireland and that it might even be possible to fly in the vertical wind created by the wind storms against these cliff walls. I, actually, dreamed of making a vacation with him to actually pursue this crazy idea!

Tamara Koyn
Summer 1997: John organized the GKCSC 4-way VRW camp with Pat Works and Shaylan. At this camp, I could feel that he was experiencing his dreams as reality. He was happy. I saw him on a video and there he was flying head-down and stable just as he had dreamed of achieving over the past few years. I remember the day we were at Eloy together in Fall '94 when he saw Olav's freeflying videos from outside Olav's trailer exclaiming something to the effect, "Damn, I don't know how to skydive! I'll have to learn all over again!" And there he was on that video flying head-down. And still doing it well even though his goggles were coming down his chin. It was humorous to see him so stable head-down, trying to work his face muscles something like the convulsions of a worm in attempt to reseat his goggles!
Tamara Koyn

I remember John for the huge smile that always graced his face and the tight grip he always had on Belinda's hand. WE will all miss you.
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The Center for Research on Learning
The University of Kansas
3061 Dole Building
Lawrence, KS 66045

What Rory has described as a broom flying, cartwheeling skydiver of a person says more than I can know. I do know this, if my friend Rory saw something special in John, it must be true.

As John's mother, I know that all his life, whatever John got involved in he went at it 110%. Even as a small child he was driven. One entire summer he spent every day building a tent out of a blanket and clothespins in the backyard, redesigning it every day until it was perfect...and then never stepped inside it once he was satisfied. I was always surprised at how he stuck with skydiving over all those years...although I suppose it changed so much over those years that he was always trying to perfect the next step...and even developing some of them.

We shared a home over the last few years and he was very good with me, and Belinda also, after they married. I was going through many changes at that time and his patience was certainly a virtue. Nothing is as painful as burying one of your children, and I miss him, as everyone does, everyday. But I find solace in knowing he was doing something he loved with people he loved when he died.

Mary Schuman
John's mother
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Web Site Posted in 1998.