Is That All You Got!
Celebrating Earl Glenwright 07/07/1933 - 2/15/2022
BY Endorphin 02/17
There are people in life that you are privileged to meet and know. Earl Glenwright, retired military, and self-proclaimed gentleman, and his wife Stephanie are two of those people.
I remember the day Earl walked into the gym. Walker, oxygen mask, and large oxygen tank in tow. Earl hit the equipment with fervor: treadmill, rower, recombinant bike, lat pull down, lat row, leg extension, overhead press, tricep press at the pulley, and pull-up station.
I watched Earl with admiration and quiet disbelief as he completed all of these exercises while stealthily maneuvering his oxygen tank from machine to machine.
The next day Earl showed up again. And the next. And the next.
Although Earl seemed perfectly capable and endlessly determined, I thought it prudent to ask his wife about the state of his health. Stephanie let me know Earl had a heart condition but also let me know about Earl’s stubborn side. “Good luck stopping him,” she said with a wink and a smile.
So many people use an injury, or some other challenge as an excuse not to work out or to not be their best selves. NOT this couple.
Over their regular visits, our employees and guests bonded more and more with Earl and Stephanie: Jen who braced and bandaged Earl when he took a fall from the rower; Tommy and Vince while listening to Earl’s jokes and the (some would think—politically incorrect :-)) cartoons Earl found funny; and, as Earl and Stephanie had spent some time in Brazil, we often exchanged greetings and small talk in Portuguese.
You couldn’t help but be inspired by Earl’s motivation and determination. I got a kick out of the way people looked at him in disbelief as he completed his daily routine at the gym. Fitness was a part of Earl’s life, and nothing was going to get in his way. He maneuvered the oxygen tank around the various stations on his own and rarely asked for help.
At some point, we even had to stop Earl from tackling the pull-up bar because the staff and his wife felt it was too dangerous. We tried to set up a TRX and show Earl a safer way to complete his morning pull-ups. However, it wasn’t surprising that Earl wanted nothing to do with our (wimpy) recommendations. It was the pull-up bar or nothing for Earl.
AND then the pandemic…
At the end of April 2020, Eagle County public health orders were lifted to allow gyms to open with restrictions. The day before we were allowed to open, we were busy organizing and getting signs up at the gym, and who did I see standing outside? Earl.
When I saw Earl standing there, I smiled while my heart simultaneously dropped to my stomach with fear over whether or not to let Earl into the gym. With congestive heart disease, Earl definitely fell into the immunocompromised category. However, again, there was no stopping Earl.
I opened the front door and the first words out of Earl’s mouth were, “Are you going to let me in tomorrow!?!”
Earl and I discussed COVID. He knew the risks. I gave him some disinfecting tips, and he came in the next day with another mask over his oxygen mask. He joked that he had an advantage over others because he had oxygen under his mask while we were all bitching that we could not breathe.
Earl continued to come every day to the gym. His after gym routine included a cappuccino at Color Coffee and satisfying his love for word searches. Earl followed his daily routine religiously.
Over the next year, we kept folks like Earl in mind as we navigated COVID. We grappled with questions like how do we keep our community together, in good spirits, and moving, knowing the risks as our understanding of COVID evolved?
Two weeks ago, the staff from Color stopped by and checked in with us at Endorphin to see if we heard anything about Earl. Earl hadn’t been to the gym or Color Coffee in a couple of weeks. I reached out to Stephanie, his wife, and learned he was at Valley View Hospital. Earl’s health was in decline.
A few of us at Endorphin were lucky enough to spend a few hours with Earl during his last days. I want to thank Stephanie for opening her heart and giving us this gift.
Holding Earl’s hand on Monday, in a few moments that Earl was alert, I told him it was Corina from the gym and asked him to give me a few bicep rows. Earl proceeded to complete five with his right arm and five with his left.
At that moment, I imagined Earl on the pull-up bar, oxygen again in tow, and thought to myself the next time I was thinking of giving up during my morning exercise routine; I’d keep that vision of Earl firmly in my mind's eye.
“Is that all you got!”
No Earl. I’ve got more. Much, much more.
On Tuesday, Feb 15th, Earl left this world. Earl, we will never forget how you inspired and motivated us every day —at the gym and as a member of the Eagle community.
Let’s shower Stephanie and his family with love and celebrate Earl.
Earl Glenwright 7/7/1933- 2/15/2022