|Remembering Harvey Soss|
by Elain Demme - email@example.com
Skydivers and friends from around the world gathered on Thursday, September 7, 2000, in a small town in Pennsylvania to bid a final farewell to our dearest friend, Harvey. After a procession that stretched for miles, Soss was laid to rest along side his mother in Montefiore Cemetery, under the clearest blue skies we have had all year. At the service at the funeral home his family (a.k.a. 'THE HERD') took turns speaking about Soss and telling what surely will be only the first of many "SOSS" stories while guests could look over a display of photographs that ranged from his early childhood through many of his great adventures, including climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, visiting the Great Wall of China, walking through the ruins of Machu Pichu or strolling the beach in Bora Bora.
Soss was truly a legend in his own time and while we, his friends and family, have lost someone very special, all skydivers have lost a very large piece of skydiving history. While we, the Herd, were able to claim him as our own, the EET brotherhood in Norway also claimed him as theirs. Soss lived his life to the fullest and epitomized the axiom that "He who dies with the most toys wins." He had more than any of us could dream of, from his RVs to his Harleys. He was the guy who looked like the devil who would give you the shirt off his back (especially if you were a girl and especially if it was a Herd shirt). He participated in all of the early record attempts, and much to Bill Booth's dismay, his raggedy-assed, multi-colored Wonderhog appeared in more pictures and for many more years than Bill would ever have dreamed of.
Soss was truly one of a kind. D-3891, SCS-1204, SCR-2970 and NNFB #32 were just some of the numbers he claimed. And while all of the stories about the wonderful things he did for his friends around the globe continue to pour in, we also remember the Soss that would drive 800 miles out of his way to avoid paying a toll, the man who thought Merlot was a breakfast drink, the guy who would sleep in his clothes so he didn't have to waste any time getting dressed in the morning, the guy who single-handedly was responsible for keeping the television show "Mama's Family" on the air (cuz "Nothing bad ever happens on Mama's Family!"), the guy who swore never to read a newspaper until it told him what was gonna happen instead of what already did, and the guy who showered at the gym for a few years rather than install a new hot water heater in his house.
He lived his life harder and faster than the rest of us would dare ...... and he loved every minute of it. While we all worked, he dreamed of collecting his first Social Security check next year so the government would be paying him to play! He lived with the love of his life, Judy, in a small house in Feasterville, PA, filled (and I do mean filled) with tokens and souvenirs from his years and years of travel. From his Seabee hat hanging on the wall to the Masai carvings on the kitchen counter, you could practically consider yourself a world traveler just by walking around Soss's living room.
Some of Soss's family created what they termed a "cheesy, tacky" roadside memorial on Route 32 (River Road) just outside of Doylestown, PA to mark the spot that our best friend moved on. With a few "stolen" plastic flamingos, a cow skull, a Herd shirt and some other mementos, they marked the spot for all to see and forever remember. Being savvy Herd members, they also protected the tokens with a voodoo doll armed with a curse too terrible to even contemplate.
While Harvey's friends now mourn our loss it surely should be the people who didn't know Harvey Soss that should be crying. For we were the lucky ones --- we were allowed to share in the special, wacky world that Soss brought us into.
As his Harley followed the limousines and hearse on Soss's final journey, I know he would've been laughing his ass off --- he had never passed that many cops in his life without getting stopped!
We'll miss you Sossy.
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