My dad, Clyde Vessell died on August 23 at 85 years old and we buried him yesterday, September 1. Most of you don’t know him because he has been out of playing racquetball for years. But he is the reason that there is a Vessell’s Fitness. Dad loved the game of racquetball and played in a private court owned by Leo Christopher (Keri Page’s dad). Racquetball was huge back in the 70’s and 80’s. I was a Junior attending UMR in Economics when dad came up with the concept to build a Racquetball Club. I knew that was the direction for me in life and although dad ended up with doubts, I was like a dog after a bone. So, we designed, built, and opened the facility on October 1, 1980. At that time, it was called Vessell’s Racquet Club. Later, after expanding into fitness, we incorporated it and changed the name to Vessell’s Fitness Complex. I was 21 years old when we opened it and transferred my degree to Business/Mgt through Drury University to finish at nighttime.
The thing that I admire most about dad is that he made it happen, put his name on the dotted line for finances and then walked away. He said “Make it Happen.” He never gave me advice unless I asked for it and he never tried to manage it. He continued playing racquetball for years at a high B level, until his knees couldn’t take it any longer. He never made the transition to fitness; dad was always an athlete and basically just liked sports.
It wasn’t until we build the addition in 1990 which included what is now our Weight Room and Studio that I was able to refinance and get dad off the loan. I think it was unbelievably brave to put so much trust in your daughter.
He was always my biggest cheerleader to any accomplishments; he believed in me more than I did myself. And although, he hasn’t been in and around Vessell’s Fitness in recent years, it is here because of his idea and a daughter he believed in.
Rest in Peace My Dear Father.
Love You Forever, Peggy Jo (your namesake)