New York Times archive photo
My first memory of Jack LaLanne was seeing this high energy guy, wearing short sleeves and tights doing exercises on a neighbor's black and white television. Our family did not yet own a set. I was not of an age where I worried about fitness, because we played ball and romped all day and figured we were fit.
Later of course I saw him as the premiere fitness guy on TV, who even evangelized his enthusiasm for health and well being amidst the jokes of late night television hosts. It was then his message began to strike a chord. He was a true advocate, he pioneered a field and I paid attention.
Later still, when I had become more aware of my own health, nutrition, stress relief and the like, Jack was an elder spokesman but also a strong pitchman for juicing, the legal kind involving apples, carrots and the like. For many years I used his machine and have always thought I should get a new one, since we burned out two.
It was a huge thrill to see Jack on occasion after our move to the Central Coast.
He was an older version of his energetic self, but he was still vibrant and looked healthy.
Again, he was a kind of role model for fitness and well being above 90. A couple of years ago we tried his sugar and flour free banana cookie recipe. Once again, Jack had broken new ground.
His passing at 96 saddens many in this area, where he had lived for years. Jack used to joke that he couldn't die because it would be bad for his image.
Jack, you were wrong on that. You remain the trail blazer, the original fitness guru. Even more, you remain the image for fitness and well being.