Randy Schroeder, D-9995, who served three terms on the USPA Board of Directors as Eastern Regional Director, passed away on April 20. He was 70. A Pennsylvania native, Schroeder began skydiving in 1979 at Chambersburg Skydiving Center. He went on to earn multiple USPA instructional ratings, including Coach Examiner and AFF, IAD and Static-Line Instructor Examiner. He was also an experienced tandem instructor who worked at many DZs over many seasons throughout the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast and was well known for using humor to introduce hundreds if not thousands of people to skydiving. He earned 10,000-Jump Wings #116 and 156-Hour Freefall Badge #65.
Schroeder won election to the USPA Board as Eastern Regional Director for the 2009-2010 term, won reelection for the 2011-2012 term and, after USPA lengthened board terms to three years, won reelection again for the 2013-2105 term. He served on the Safety & Training Committee, where he proved to be a forceful advocate for small DZs, always reminding the board that the majority of Group Member DZs were Cessna-only drop zones.
In 2010, Randy sustained paraplegia during a surgical procedure and began using a wheelchair. Despite his paralysis, which greatly complicated travel, he remained an active Regional Director, and continued to attend board meetings and regional meetings and make DZ visits.
Randy Schroeder loved telling jump stories, particularly this one from 1980 involving Ed Scott, now USPA Executive Director but then a static-line instructor in the days of military-surplus round parachutes. Schroeder was one of Scott’s static-line students and had graduated to making his first freefall jump. Because so many students lost their ripcords after deployment on their first freefall, students would rent a metal ripcord from manifest and bring it to the packer (Scott, in this case). Together, they would open a static-line rig, remove the static-line and insert the ripcord. Hunched over the rig while straining to hold it closed, Scott asked Schroeder to hand him the ripcord so he could finish the pack job. Schroeder began looking all around and came up empty. No ripcord! He enjoyed quoting Scott’s reaction: “I’ve had plenty of students lose their ripcord after opening. I’ve never had one who lost it before he even jumped!”