Lifestyle & Human Interest

Watch: 98-Year-Old Preacher Decides to Go Skydiving for Birthday - Look How Spirited He Is


This North Carolina evangelist decided to celebrate his 98th birthday in style.

Roy Jernigan went skydiving with his daughter and granddaughter to celebrate the milestone on Tuesday, according to WECT-TV.

The retired pastor’s granddaughter had suggested that Jernigan give skydiving a try for his 98th birthday — a challenge she didn’t seriously expect him to take up.

“I didn’t think he’d go through with it. … Not much surprises me these days from him. He’s a risk taker, I guess,” April Lintler said of her grandfather, according to WECT.

In an interview, Jernigan admitted that the idea raised some eyebrows from his friends and family.

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“They look at you and say, ‘Are you serious?’ I say yes. ‘Are you crazy?’ I say yes.”

The jump went well, according to Jernigan.

“It was a good experience. Something I had never done.”

He’s already planning his next jump to commemorate his 100th birthday.

Jernigan is a Navy Corpsman veteran of World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars, according to WECT and WRAL-TV.

After his military career, Jernigan became a missionary to Native American tribes, WRAL reported.

He retired from full-time ministry just last year, according to The Christian Post. Video of Jernigan preaching the gospel earlier this month shows he’s kept the verbal skill that served him as a pastor.

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The senior citizen says his mind is as sharp as ever — so much so that he can remember being 2 years old and quote the Gettysburg Address from memory.

Jernigan passed along some advice for living as long as he has — and revealed the secret to his longevity.

“If God blesses you and gives you the number of years that he’s given me, burn out your life living for others. You’ll never regret it,” Jernigan said, according to WRAL.

“People ask me all the time, what do I contribute my longevity to? And I tell them, ‘The good Lord and black coffee, and in that order.'”

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