Marian Roberts of Kennewick had one request before skydiving to celebrate her 80th birthday.
“I said to make it last as long as they could,” she said Saturday afternoon, hours after jumping 12,500 feet.
And the instructors at West Plains Skydiving in Ritzville obliged, allowing Roberts to glide and move around in circles before landing safely.
It was her second time skydiving. She last jumped 20 years ago in Mount Vernon, Mo.
“That wasn’t nearly as much fun as this one,” she said. “This one, we did all kind of whirligigs in the air.”
Having her granddaughter, Jen Roberts, 30, of West Richland, with her as they zipped through the air also made this jump more enjoyable.
“It was just wonderful to have her up in the plane with me,” Marian said.
The younger Roberts relished the experience, as well.
“I was the first out of the plane, and Granny was right behind me,” Jen said. “It was fantastic.”
Marian Roberts’ actual birthday is May 17, but the jump was pushed up a day because of rain forecast for Ritzville.
She has taken part in other high-octane sports, riding dirt bikes and para-sailing into her 50s and 60s. She started slowing down the excitement when she and her husband, Lester, started taking care of their disabled granddaughter, Hope, in 1985.
“She’s an adrenaline junkie,” Jen said of her grandmother.
But none of Marian’s previous adventures compared to this one, she said.
“Everyone should try it,” she said.
The family celebrated her birthday afterward with a barbecue party at her son’s house in West Richland. It was attended by 22 people, including five of her siblings from Boise.
“It was a very big day,” said daughter-in-law Pati Roberts.
Marian, a retired cook with the Richland School District, said she started thinking about skydiving again as her birthday approached.
“I just got to thinking about how much fun it was 20 years ago and I said, ‘I’m going to be 80,’ ” she recalled.
She and Lester have been married since 1953. They met while Lester, originally from Missouri, was stationed at Camp Hanford, and Marian, who was from Boise, was working as a nanny in Connell.
Marian refuses to look at age as something that limits her abilities, she said.
“As long as I want to do something, I do it,” she said. “If you’re able to, do it.”
She is already thinking about skydiving again on her 81st birthday.
“They told me to come back, and I said, ‘I just might,’ ” she said.