Joel Zane, an avid skydiver, died Saturday, Oct. 16th, doing what he loved. He will be remembered by many for his tender heart, his soft voice, his sense of adventure and chase for adrenaline, his giving and generous nature, and his sage advice. He was 52 years old. Born and raised in Tulsa, Okla., he spent many years motorcycle racing, developing his love of flying and mastering the skills of carpentry. He moved to California where he obtained a degree in psychology from the University of Southern California.
In the 1970s, Joel migrated to the Aspen area where he started Airborne Inc., an air charter service. He also operated a skydiving drop zone in Rifle for many years. In the 1980s and 1990s, Joel worked for the Basalt Rural Fire Protection District as a volunteer EMT and firefighter. In his current business of nearly 20 years, Creative Concepts, he was a meticulous master woodworker whose loyal clients often became his friends. Joel’s extraordinary woodwork graces many of the Aspen areas homes and businesses as well as St. Benedict’s Monastery Skydiving became Joel’s passion. He jumped over many Aspen air shows and town festivals, often trailing the American Flag. He was also invited to jump in special events around the nation. Joel was a member of the “Wild Humans,” who were some of the best in the world at “canopy formation.” In 2003, Joel was part of an elite team of skydivers who broke a world record by making a 70-person parachute formation. The skydiving community and weekend adventures were a big part of his life.On the slopes of Aspen, Joel made dreams come true for many special-needs skiers by doing volunteer ski instruction for Challenge Aspen.
Life became richer for Joel after he met Laurie, his wife of two-and-a-half years. Through the marriage, he also became a stepfather to Laurie’s daughter Arielle (13). To Arielle he was a role model and friend whose family relationship was important to both of them. Laurie and Joel’s love for each other was obvious and romantically inspiring to everyone around them. He brought her flowers each week and they were spotted dancing just about anywhere they had the chance. They delighted in each others company and in planning their travel and dreams together.
Joel is survived by his wife, Laurie Shipe-Zane, stepdaughter, Arielle Shipe, mother, Mary Holcomb, brothers, Gary and Tim Zane, along with a huge number of family, extended family and dear friends who will hold close the memories of their times with Joel. A brother to friends and family alike, his presence, his heart and his wisdom will be greatly and sorely missed by all. A memorial service will be held Friday, Oct. 29, at 2 p.m. at the Snowmass Chapel, 5307 Owl Creek Rd., Snowmass Village. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Joel Zane Memorial Fund, Alpine Bank, P.O. Box 5490, Snowmass Village, CO 81654.
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