Friday, September 23, 2011

MY PAL . . VIC BOFF - By Tom Minichiello

Originally posted on on 26 December 2002

If you had Vic Boff as a friend you were a most fortunate person. I was one of those lucky ones, he was my pal.

Everyone in the Fitness and Health Foods community knew of Vic through his articles in health publications and of course as the Ice Berg King of Coney island.

I first became friendly with Vic in the seventies when he would come into my gym and we'd chat for some time. we traveled to different events, upstate New York at Tom Ciola's competition, Worcester Mass for Cliff Sawyer's events. Two memorable trips was to York PA for the 90th birthday party for Milo Steinborn and a surprise retirement party for Ed Jubinville in Holyoke Mass.

Vic's friends will appreciate this short tale -- It was at the end of November 1985 and my wife and I were with Vic in Atlantic City to help out at a physique competition. There was a late night meeting at the Sands Casino which ended about one in the morning. We were all staying at the Showboat so after being indoors all evening when we walked out on the boardwalk the strong and cold winds greeted us. We started walking back to our hotel, Eleanore and I were shivering from the cold, as we walked on we looked at the strong waves that were breaking on the shore and Vic looked like he was in Miami Florida, this was his environment -- c-o-l-d.

Vic looked out at the ocean and said -- "I knew it, I knew it." My jaws were almost locked tight from the cold and the wind but I was able to ask him, "Vic what did you know?" He was still looking out at the ocean and with that robust complection of his he seriously said, "I should have brought along my bathing trunks." That was my pal Vic.

I knew that this was a SPECIAL man that entered my life. Vic became my counsel. If I neededanswers I went to Vic. He most always had all the answers for me and if he didn't he wouldn't rest until he did. Today, everyone is on the computer for their answers, Vic Boff was my internet. His advice and suggestions came from his heart.

One of his many accomplishments was the founding of the Association of Oldetime Barbell & Strongmen. This wonderful man created a home for several hundred from the community of the Iron Game. From all over the States and Europe members received their bulletins and became up to date on events. With interesting articles and news Vic Boff did a marvelous thing -- HE KEPT THE PAST ALIVE.

The annual dinners and the honoring of past members was an event that all who could attend looked forward to with enthusiasm. For the most part, this was done by one man -- Vic Boff. His own ideology of physical culture was built into the foundation of his A.O.B.S., it should be continued.

After selling my gym in Manhattan I relocated to Fort Myers Florida. I was thrilled to find out that Vic and his wife Ann had sold their store and were moving to Cape Coral which is only minutes away from my area.

We had over ten years of close friendship. At the many lunches we had together he talked of all the old timers, mostly Goerge Jowett who he had been in business with. He knew McFadden and so many more, he was a walking history book of the Iron Game and the Health Foods industry of which he was one of its early pioneers.

Vic would never find fault with anyone, he would talk only of the good that people did. A number of times I told him about what I thought of some individuals -- he would then immediately tell me of what he knew about the good that they had done and would never pick up on what I had said.

In my friendship with Vic I have learned much -- not only of the Iron Game but of life and living it. There were many times I needed his counsel, he was always there for me. I learned the morality of this man -- UNQUESTIONABLE. He could never hurt or deceive anyone, he always went out of his way to help people and I know that over the years he has helped many. In the last ten years we had confided in one another. I can tell you that all of Vic's desire to help not only his friends but total strangers came from his heart. The idea of receiving any monetary rewards for his efforts never came to mind, he just wanted to help his fellow man.

Vic Boff was the most UNDERSTANDING person that I ever knew. He was able to feel your pain, your joy. If you knew Vic you had to love him, I did and I know I'm a better person for having known him.

How fortunate for me to have lived in his time. . . . . my pal VIC, ....WHAT A MAN !

Physical Culture
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