Gordon E. Riner, 87
Gordon E. Riner, 87, passed away Sunday, April 8, 2012.
He was born Aug. 17, 1924, in Richmond, Ind., one of four boys, to Clifford E. and Mary Johnson Riner. He was a loving husband to his wife, Marian, for 62 years and the proud father of three daughters, Deborah, Cynthia and Robyn. Riner loved being a father and spending time with his daughters, whether it was taking them to gymnastics or the airport, reading, going on walks or just listening to them and instilling the belief that, with enough hard work, they were capable of anything.
Riner served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific in World War II. After his discharge, he was a catcher for the Wilson Tobacconists baseball team in the Coastal Plains League. He was a competitive pistol shooter, winning national competitions. He was also an avid astronomer, built his own telescopes and patiently taught those interested, including his grateful son-in-law Jack, about the beauty of the heavens.
In 1963, Riner found his calling in the sport of parachuting. He was a member of the U.S. Parachute Team in 1968. He then became a judge, culminating in his judging the international sports parachuting meet in Graz, Austria. He often remarked how fleeting childhood was and realized that some moments can never be recaptured. He shared his love of life with his grandchildren, Lance, Matthew, Morgan and her husband, Jason Fry, Maggie, Frances, John and Gordon. He introduced countless people to the sport of skydiving and described parachuting, paraphrasing Lewis Carroll, “It’s like falling down a rabbit hole into the magical kingdom of the sky.”
A funeral service was scheduled for Thursday, April 12, 2012, at 12:30 p.m. at Watson Funeral Home, Millsboro, Del. The Rev. Earl Baker was to officiate, and interment was to follow at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Millsboro.