The matriarch of the the famous circus family “The Flying Wallendas” died Friday at her home in Sarasota, Florida, relatives said.
Jenny Wallenda was the daughter of Karl Wallenda and the grandmother of Nik Wallenda. She was 87.
Wallenda was born on Oct. 8, 1927, in Berlin, Germany, and came to the United States after World War II, 1947, to join the rest of her family, who had formed a circus troupe, her nephew, Rick Wallenda told NBC News on Sunday.
Jenny Wallenda performed on the high wire and in the family’s signature “Seven Person Human Pyramid,” as did her father, Karl Wallenda, who died in 1978 at the age of 73 after a fall during a wire stunt in Puerto Rico.
Rick Wallenda said his late aunt was watching from a pedestal during a 1962 human pyramid accident that killed her husband, Richard Faughnan, paralyzed her nephew and injured her father, who was 57 at the time.
Jenny Wallenda stuck with circus performing until the late 60s, Rick Wallenda said, and then remained “very active” in the circus community. She was inducted in into the Sarasota Ring of Fame in 2008 and was the president of the Showfolks club of Sarasota from 2007-2008.
Wallenda said formal services will be held for his aunt in Sarasota on Tuesday and Wednesday, but another service would be held at the Showfolks club in the winter when the community’s circus performers return from their tours. “She’ll be missed by everybody,” he said.
Nik Wallenda said on Facebook that his “oma” was “an amazing woman who lived a truly incredible life.”
“Oma in your honor, I will Never Give Up,” he wrote.
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