Poignant farewell for paraglider

Dave Jongsma
Dave Jongsma
Tears flowed and memories were shared as hundreds gathered in Wanaka to farewell local chiropractor Dave Jongsma, who died in a paragliding accident last week.

Mr Jongsma, who died in a paragliding accident on Roys Peak on January 2, was farewelled at Emerald Bluffs, West Wanaka, on Wednesday.

Several family members and close friends addressed the crowd, including his daughters Taylor and Kirsten Jongsma, sister Diane Jongsma and brother Phil Jongsma, partner Rachael Bentley and ex-wife Kim Henderson.

Together, they spoke of his passion for sports and the outdoors, his family, and his never-give-up attitude.

"He didn’t get knocked down much, but if he did he just got right back up and went back to living his life to the fullest and to his best," Diane Jongsma said.

His daughters, both talented singers, uplifted the crowd with two powerful songs, as well as poetry they had written for their father.

While devastated by his loss, they were grateful for his impact on their lives.

"He’s left a huge hole, but in the last week I was thinking about it and I would’ve rather had Dad for the time that I had than to have had any other father for my whole life. I’ve never met someone who loved me as much as he did. I’m just in awe of him and what he did for me," Kirsten Jongsma said.

"I’m a lover of words but there just aren’t words to describe him," Taylor Jongsma said.

Dave Jongsma was born in Bow Island, Alberta, Canada, and was one of four siblings.

He and his family moved to Wanaka about 20 years ago and became well-known members of the community.

A sport fanatic, Dave Jongsma had been paragliding for just over a year, and was also a keen whitewater kayaker, skier and mountain biker, among other sports.

sean.nugent@odt.co.nz

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