Family, friends gather to remember woman killed in skydiving accident

Posted at 10:27 PM, Aug 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-15 09:18:31-04

MURRAY, Utah — Family and friends are remembering the woman who died in a skydiving accident in Nephi Thursday. 

Those close to Wendi Gabaldon met at Murray Park Monday afternoon for an intimate luncheon. They said she never wanted anyone to be sad; a celebration of life is what she would have wanted. 

 Her husband and one of her daughters spoke with FOX 13 at the park.

 “I remember smiles and as soon as I jumped down I was watching her and she was about to go up in the plane. She was getting on her gear. She was so excited to see me go and she loved that I loved it,” said Melissa Gabaldon, Wendi's daughter,

Melissa, 18, jumped out of the Cessna 182 plane in Nephi before her mom.  It was her first time.  It was Wendi's second; she went skydiving many years earlier with her husband, Guy. 

 “She wanted to do the second time with my daughters. My middle daughter just turned 18, so we purchased them for Christmas presents for them," Guy Gabaldon explained.  

Melissa said she was nervous, but her mom calmed her fears, joking, "You better go! I paid a lot of money!"

 But what was supposed to be another fun family adventure turned into tragedy when Wendi and the instructor's parachute malfunctioned.  

Four days after the incident, her family wants to remember the good.

 “Wendy was a good mother, you know. Good friend to everybody," Guy said.  

With 25 years of marriage, six kids (three biological and three adopted), and plenty of friends, they said Wendi had a lot of love to go around.  They added "adventurous" may as well have been her middle name.

 “Whether it was hiking or fishing or camping, she was always pushing the whole family to go wherever. She had fun doing it the whole time," Guy Gabaldon said, smiling.

The family thanked everyone for their outpouring of support and condolences.  They said the best way to help is to make sure people hug their own loved ones extra tight.

 "You'll never know when it's the last moment with them. It'll be hard," Guy said.