A Long and Healthy Life

Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Posted by: By Robin Fortenberry, Director of Fitness Services, ACE CPT

In Memory of Dr. Charles Hurwitz

Dr. Hurwitz Working OutA long and healthy life. When I hear that phrase, the person that comes to my mind is Dr. Charles Hurwitz. In my first year as Director of Fitness Services, I had the pleasure of meeting Charles. At that time he was a bit of a celebrity at the J, mostly because of his age. Charles was just over 102 years old at that time and had been a member of the J for 20 years, regularly working out three times a week.

Over the next year, I would get to know Charles better. He shared stories of his life, his family, the time he served in the military during World War II and his long and distinguished career in research science. He also shared with me his feelings on how important he felt it was to maintain a regular exercise routine and a healthy weight and had followed this advice for most of his life.

The more I got to know Charles, the better I liked him. I would look forward to seeing him in the Fitness Center and hearing his stories. He was such an interesting man and was so well liked by staff and members alike. As his April 1 birthday neared in 2017, we decided to celebrate his 104th birthday and throw him a party at the J.

Dr. Hurwitz 104th BirthdayLike any birthday party, there were family members, friends, cake, balloons and singing. Unlike other parties, there were major local media outlets wanting a chance to interview the 104 year old PhD., who made it a point to come to the Fitness Center and work out three times a week. During one of the interviews he was asked what his secret for long life was? Without hesitation he answered, "Just don't die."

Charles continued to maintain his regular workout schedule after the celebration. Even after Hurricane Harvey came through, he returned after we were able to re-open the Fitness Center. But over the past couple of years, there would be long periods of time that we wouldn't see him. I had heard from his family that he was having health issues and even though he wasn't able to make his regular visits to the J, he maintained his exercise routine as much as possible. A few weeks ago I received an email from his son letting me know that he had passed away at the age of 106.

My first thought after hearing this was, "What an amazing life." I consider myself lucky to have been a very, very small part of that life. His commitment to regular exercise and healthy weight maintenance along with maintaining intellectual stimulation had served him well and served as an example to others. Charles Hurwitz truly lived a long and healthy life.

For more details on the life of Charles Hurwitz, please read his obituary.

Photo credit: Ira Joffe