Pemberton paragliders mourn one of their own 

Judd Feldman, 44, was the 'kindest of humans'

click to flip through (2) FACEBOOK PHOTO - judd the spud  Judd Feldman, 44, was killed in a paragliding accident north of Pemberton on July 8.
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  • judd the spud Judd Feldman, 44, was killed in a paragliding accident north of Pemberton on July 8.
 
 

Pemberton paragliders were flying with heavy hearts this week following the death of one of their own.

"I had a big flight yesterday, and I landed in the landing zone, about 8 o' clock at night and we were all sitting there, sort of relaxing," said Samson Danniels.

"And it really felt like somebody was missing, just because he's always been there."

Judd Feldman, 44, of Pemberton, was killed last week after being involved in a paragliding accident north of Pemberton.

"We used to joke that Judd was the mascot of Pemberton paragliding, because he was just sort of this really interesting character that was always around," Danniels said.

Feldman's affinity for potatoes earned him the nickname "Judd the Spud" among his friends.

"Because of course, he lived down the valley at a potato farm, and he would always have boiled or baked potatoes that he would do on his wood stove, and if you were ever hungry in a car with Judd he would go, 'Oh, you want a potato?'" Danniels recalled.

"It was this really sort of quirky, funny thing about him."

But Feldman will probably be best remembered for his willingness to help.

"Judd really lived life in a way that the people around him were the most important thing for him, so he was always very, very courteous to extend a drive or come pick you up," Danniels said.

"He was always great about keeping his eye on people, making sure they were safe, and if anybody needed help he was always the first one to volunteer."

Jim Orava, owner of Cayoosh Expeditions in Pemberton, described Feldman as "an ambassador for humanity, let alone Pemberton.

"Judd was the kindest of humans who, more than anyone, would put everyone in front of him in the line to make sure they were taken care of before himself," Orava said in an email.

"That's the way he approached life in general."

While the exact cause of the accident may never be known, Danniels said it wasn't a lack of experience.

"Judd was a good pilot, but he didn't do everything in his power to make it as safe as he could," Danniels said.

"He didn't carry an emergency beacon, he didn't even have a radio with him, I don't believe, when he crashed, so his ability to call for help was absent."

But that wasn't carelessness on Judd's part, it was just who he was, Danniels said.

"Judd was very wise as to the dangers of the sport, and he was very wise as to the dangers of flying without proper communication... and those were choices that he decided to make," Danniels said.

"We're very sad that we've lost Judd within our community, but that was the way that he chose to live his life, and I believe that it's up to the individual that they should have the freedom to make those choices."

That freedom is what sets paragliding apart from other sports.

"I think it's very important that we don't see more regulation," Danniels said.

"I think our society is so regulated as it is, that this is such a great avenue where people can go out and participate in something at their own desire and in their own way. If people want to take silly risks, regulation won't prevent that."

Feldman leaves behind a son, Hunter, and his father Peter in Pemberton.

An obituary in the Montreal Gazette, where Feldman was from and his mother still lives, asks that "contributions in his memory be made to the charity of your choice."

"An irreplaceable human, Judd will be greatly missed, and we know he loved his life intensely till the end," Orava said.

"Freedom of mind was his summit he reached constantly every minute he lived. We can all only learn from such purity of heart, and consistent faithfulness to his associates. He will teach us onwards."

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