Thursday, November 12, 2009

In memoriam - Steve Harrington 1968 - 2009

Flock University has posted a moving tribute to Steve Harrington. Wingsuit flyer, and founding member of the US based wingsuit school.

The group of flyers who flew with Steve in a 68 way wingsuit formation past week, are planning a 58 way memorial jump tomorrow to celebrate his life.

Requiem for a Wingsuiter

On November 11, 2009, the wingsuiting community lost one of its greatest and most unsung contributors. Earlier in the day, Steve Harrington had joined with dozens of other wingsuiters to set the US record for largest flock: a 68-way slot perfect design. On the last load of the day – a fun jump to celebrate that success – tragedy occurred when he struck the tail of the aircraft on exit.

Steve started skydiving in 1991, when he first went through AFF on a whim with his twin brother. Steve continued on in the skydiving world, when his twin drifted out of the sport. Despite his love for jumping, over time, his skydiving started to decrease. “I hadn’t made a lot of jumps in the preceding five or six years due to work commitments, recovery from a skiing accident, buying new home, and getting married,” he once remarked. All that turned around when he discovered wingsuiting. “Wingsuiting made me realize what I was missing; it just made me feel alive again,” he said. Steve co-founded Flock University because he loved wingsuiting and wanted to share that love and enthusiasm with other skydivers. That effort was just another manifestation of his quiet and unassuming – but consistently friendly and positive – manner. He was “one of those jumpers that you looked forward to seeing on the plane every time,” a friend wrote. “He always had a warm smile, welcoming attitude, and a keen eye for jumper safety.”

Steve was a trailblazer both in the sky and in his personal life. Steve married his partner, Adam, in one of the first same-sex marriages conducted following its legalization in Massachusetts. “My spouse is now in medical school – I guess that makes us a ‘power couple’ – a doctor and business professional”, Steve once joked.

He often remarked that skydiving has made him a more “complete” and “confident” person. “Friends at work always ask me about recent jumps and travels,” he once said. “They say their lives are boring in comparison, and they’re jealous... But they also say they are jealous that I am not tied down to a nagging wife,” he added with a smile.

A friend wrote, “Steve was always in a good mood, always positive – he lived his life the way he wanted to. He was a true and genuine human being. He was part of the reason we had so much fun jumping our wingsuits.” Another commented, “He touched many lives... We are all truly honored who got to share the air with him. He will not be forgotten...”

All of us at Flock University mourn Steve’s loss, and we all extend our deep condolences to Adam and Steve’s family.

Blue Skies, Steve... Fly free.

Steven Harrington (November 25, 1968 to November 11, 2009).


  1. Steve Harrington was one of the nicest, most friendly and open people I've known. When I was still getting my A license, I remember having a lot of conversations with Steve and the others about wingsuiting. His face would light up, and he'd smile that toothy smile... I am so deeply sad that I won't get to see that smile again. My heart is with Steve's family and with Adam.

    -Jeff Donohue

  2. Steve, you will be missed. I only had the opportunity to jump with him a few times. Those few were special.

    Steve's passion and excitement were invigorating! He selflessly helped me progress in skill.

    My most sincere condolences to all of Steve's family and closest relationships.

    -Michael Gamble

    I will be learning to pilot a wingsuit in the future. I will be thinking of Steve when I do.

  3. Steve was a man among men, a truly good person, right from the get go. It was my tremendous good fortune to have known him since middle school, and I don't know a single soul who could have ever had a bad thing to think, much less say about him. He was sweet, kind and a wonderful guy with a contagious joie de vivre.
    --Alison Kleinfeld

  4. I knew Steve and his family when I was much younger - early 80's - such nice, amazing people. A tragedy, for sure.
    - Rob Carlson, WHS '89

  5. I got to make a few RW jumps with Steve in Montreal and at Cross Keys. He was a very friendly and genuinely warm person who enjoyed the sport and gave a lot back to it. I truly enjoyed jumping with him and my condolences go out to his partner Adam and his friends and family.

    Calen Chrzan Chrzan

  6. steve, i envy your full life. you did good. our condolences to your loved ones.

    lesbian activist, Philippines
    rainbow boogie 2006

  7. So sorry to hear this. My heart goes out to everyone impacted by this loss.
    Kim Steward, WHS '87

  8. I am very saddened by this.
    Fly free, Steve, fly free.

    Mark Rejhon
    Rainbow Boogie 2006 & 2009 Organizer

  9. Very sorry to hear about the loss of my friend Steve. Steve helped my business, Blue Wave Marketing, gets its start in 1991, and he has been a friend ever since. You left the world doing what you love. You will be missed.

    John Moran
    President, Blue Wave Marketing