Before Greg Henke ever took up paragliding, he had a love for flying.
The Boise man, who died in a paragliding accident in Turkey on April 25, often had dreams about flying when he was a kid, his daughter Jenn Henke told the Idaho Statesman.
Greg was on a group trip to the Ölüdeniz Paragliding Spring Meeting near the city of Fethiye with friends from Idaho’s Horseshoe Bend Flight Park when the accident occurred. He was 60.
Jenn said the Turkish government is investigating the crash but hasn’t released an explanation for what may have caused it.
“They haven’t ruled out a medical emergency (in flight),” Jenn said. “We really don’t understand what all went wrong.”
Greg had looked forward to this trip for months, according to Jenn and Kristin Short, who was Greg’s business partner in his local Pillar to Post home inspection franchise.
“I’ve come to learn being self-employed vacations would be fewer … ,” he wrote in a Facebook post on his business page on April 19. “Well the time has come! … The trip will be both recreational, but also with training among world-class flyers as many of us have a variety of skill levels we’re pursuing.”
He and Short had been working together for about a year when the accident happened, and they had planned for Short to take over the business when Greg retired next January. Earlier in the month, Greg was named Affiliate of the Year by the Boise Regional Realtors.
“He was not only my business partner, he was a very close friend,” Short said.
Part of the paragliding, real estate communities
Greg had been paragliding for about two years, Jenn said. Before that he was an avid skier and loved camping and running Spartan obstacle-course races with his 17-year-old son, Tim.
“When he took up flying, a lot of us had been resistant,” she said. “But he loved flying.”
Greg was at the Horseshoe Bend Flight Park, a 900-acre area dedicated to flight sports, as often as possible.
“Paragliding was his new passion,” Short said. “Every weekend he could get away, he was up in Horseshoe Bend.”
The other members of the flight park said they’ll feel Greg’s absence, too.
“Greg Henke was a huge part of the local Boise flying community,” a spokesperson for the flight park said via Facebook Messenger. “We are heartbroken by the loss of such a great man. He often volunteered his time at the flight park and we will always remember Greg as an amazing pilot, loving friend and the best shuttle driver we could ever ask for! His passing will leave a massive hole in our hearts and we pray for peace to Greg’s family.”
Short said former clients of Greg’s have reached out to offer their condolences, as have others who worked with him.
“I can’t thank the real estate community enough for being there,” Short said.
In memory of Greg Henke
Keith Dickerson met Greg through paragliding. Last Saturday, he and three others performed a memorial skydive in Greg’s name.
“It’s just honoring somebody that loved to fly,” Dickerson said in a phone interview. “They’d still want us to fly for them.”
There are several events planned to honor Greg. A funeral mass is planned for 11 a.m. on Friday, May 17, at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Boise. The mass is open to the public.
Jenn said a memorial fund has been set up in her father’s name, with donations going to support her teen brother. The account, which is set up through Mountain America Credit Union, is called the Greg Henke Memorial Fund.
According to Short, local nonprofit 100 ADA is dedicating its spring event to Greg’s memory. Pillar to Post was a sponsor of the event, which takes place May 16 at the Idaho Botanical Garden.
In addition, Jenn said the Horseshoe Bend Flight Park will honor Greg at its one-year anniversary celebration on May 25.
“Greg wouldn’t want us to be sad,” Short said. “He’d want us all to be together, sharing memories about him.”
And there are plenty of people to share memories with. Jenn said she’s been astounded by the outpouring of support after her father’s death.
“Even his lawyer cried with me,” she said.
Dozens of friends and acquaintances have shared stories about Greg — Jenn said she’s touched by even the smallest memories, like the time Greg dropped off chicken soup for a sick friend.
“The diversity of people he was loved by and he loved ... he had such a bigger community and bigger life than I can comprehend,” she said.