Larry Lemaster was one of 11 people killed when a skydiving plane crashed on Oahu Friday night.
He was a skydiving instructor, U.S. Army veteran and father. He had completed more than 3,000 jumps.
Friends and family posted heartbroken messages on Facebook Saturday.
He was a member of Team Fastrax, a professional Skydiving team based in Columbus, Ohio. He completed more than 3,000 jumps, according to the Team Fastrax members page. He also worked for Oahu Parachute Center.
Team Fastrax wrote on Facebook, “Our hearts are broken! Our brother, our friend, our teammate, Larry Lemaster was killed in yesterday’s tragic aircraft accident in Hawaii. In all the years we have known Larry he never said a negative word about anyone. He impacted everyone he met in a positive way through his kindness and love for all.”
The twin-engine crashed during takeoff near Dillingham Airfield on the island of Oahu. The state Department of Transportation announced Friday night there were no survivors. The death toll was initially reported at nine. An FAA spokesperson told Hawaii News Now Saturday that 11 people died.
Larry Lemaster shared a quote on his Facebook page, “Fear causes hesitation. Hesitation causes all your worst fears to come true. ”
Three of the victims have been identified. The names of the other two victims are Casey Dale and Mike Martin. Read more about the victims here.
Here’s what you need to know:
Larry Lemaster Was a Skydiving Instructor With More Than 3,000 Jumps
Larry Lemaster was orginally from Russell, Kentucky. He was a former general manager at Skydiving NRG in West Virginia and a former skydiving instructor at Tri-State Skydivers.
He did demonstration jumps with Team Fastrax for military events, the NFL, NASCAR, high schools and others, he wrote on his LinkedIn page.
“Flying big flags, streamers, banners, pyro and fireworks are our specialty,” he wrote.
He described himself as a professional, licensed skydiving instructor and “pro-rated demonstration jumper and base jumper.” His skydiving experience included tandem and static line.
“I enjoy living life to the fullest and traveling around sharing my love of my sports with everyone else,” he wrote on LinkedIn.
Friends and Family Posted Touching Tributes to Lemaster
Anna Elkins posted an emotional tribute on Facebook. He was the father of her son, Gunner Lemaster.
“My intense pain and anguish is indescribable,” she wrote on Facebook. “Today is the worst day of my life. My son has lost his father. I have lost something I could not put into words. I don’t have an explanation for the utter tragedy that has happened. But Larry Lemaster would never want one person to waste a single minute of their life mourning his. He was doing what he loved. We spoke about this on many occasions, he wants you to celebrate his life and your own. Love who you love with great intensity. Do what makes you happy. Be the person you want to be because obviously tomorrow is not guaranteed. Just love one another. My heart also goes out to Oahu Parachute Center and all of the loved ones of our dear friends that ended their journey with Larry Lemaster. Please give us time to grieve. I’ve never been through something quite like this but and it is absolutely unbearable! We will need some time. I love you Daniel Herndon, Mike Martin, Case E. Dale, James and Jerome and those that love you too!”
Sarah Child posted a tribute to Lemaster, saying “Thanks for giving me wings.”
“An amazing man,” she wrote. “Thanks for giving me wings, Larry Lemaster. I will never forget your kind and caring spirit. I promise to pay that forward for the rest of my days. Blue Skies, friend.”
Another friend, Rodney Newman, shared a photo of Larry Lemaster with a parachute over his shoulder, holding his young son’s hand.
“How I will always remember Larry Lemaster,” he wrote. “Blue skies my friend. You will be missed by so many. We were all so blessed to have known you.”
Tom Sanders shared photos in March of a jump he did with Larry Lemaster. The group was taking a first-time jumper for a flight, he wrote.
Melissa Constantino Parsons shared photos of a tandem jump with Larry Lemaster in March, thanking him for a great experience.
Amanda Ashley posted that she wrote about his skydiving business for a newspaper.
“RIP Larry Lemaster,” she wrote.
“In summer of 2011 – I was fortunate to cross paths with Larry. He’d set up his skydiving business at Kessler Airport and I signed up to go. I’d asked Larry if I could write about it for the local paper and he said yeah. This meant me following Larry around the DZ for several afternoons trying to learn about him and skydiving. He throughly and patiently answered my endless questions and delighted me by talking candidly about his life and skydiving adventures. On the day we did our tandem I couldn’t have been more impressed – Larry was a highly skilled sky diver and he inspired not only complete confidence but off the chart enthusiasm. When I was so scared – so unsure and so vulnerable he was the guide who navigated me through the emotion first and then we executed the jump. It was amazing. He gave me not only a new perspective on the New River Gorge, but a reset on myself and added confidence to get after life. My thoughts are with his family, his friends and his community.
Blue skies Larry.”
The Register-Herald shared a photo of Larry Lemaster skydiving over the New River Gorge in West Virginia, trailing a large American flag.
Lemaster Was A Veteran And Worked With Wounded Warriors
Larry Lemaster served in the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence, according to his Facebook page. The Cyber Center of Excellence is a base of cyberspace operations, electronic warfare and signal/communications networks and information systems, according to the military website.
Lemaster and Team Fastrax took Wounded Warriors skydiving during a weekend in Bald Head, North Carolina. The skydiving instructors took wounded veterans on tandem jumps.
“#teamfastrax finished another successful weekend with Bald Head Island Warrior weekend,” Lemaster wrote, sharing an album of the weekend. “Great people and great times! Thank you for letting us be part of this great event of helping our wounded warriors!”
Among the veterans Lemaster took on tandem jumps was Marine Corps. Staff Sgt. Charlie Linville, who climbed Mount Everest despite an injury in an IED blast which caused him to lose one of his legs from the knee down.
“I took this guy up on a tandem jump this weekend at Bald Head Island,” Lemaster wrote. “What an amazing guy and story of his summit of Mount Everest.”
He Was a Father to a Young Boy and a ‘Second Father’
Larry Lemaster was the father of Gunner Lemaster. His profile picture showed him walking hand in hand with the boy, with a parachute over his left shoulder.
He shared many photos with the Gunner, swimming, relaxing and eating together.
Kierstan Warden described Lemaster as her second father. For his birthday Sept. 25, she shared a photo of them together before a jump.
“Ever since I got the chance to finally meet you Larry about 9 years ago, my life has changed in so many ways. I’ve skydived more than I ever thought I would, Ive been to some of the most beautiful places on earth, I’ve met some amazing and down to earth people, I’ve learned to look at life in new and exciting perspectives, and I’ve gotten the chance to fill my heart with more love and more family,” she wrote.
He commented, “I love you honey! You definitely changed my life for the better. Before we meet I had given up on starting a family. But look at me now. I have a strong, intelligent beautiful daughter, a funny beautiful son and gorgeous wife. And it all started with meeting you. I truly believe this, Life doesn’t always give you what you want when you want it. But it will give you what you need when you need it. You saved me Kierstan! Saved me from a life of not knowing what true love is.”