At the start of a new year many of us look for a little inspiration to workout and get in shape. WANE 15 caught up with a man who is an inspiration. Phil McClure is 89-years old and he’s been a member of the YMCA Greater Fort Wayne for more than 80 years. “I’ve been going to the “Y” for so long now it’s part of my life,” said McClure. “And it’s a good life.”
McClure walks slowly with a cane but he works out almost daily walking laps in the pool at the downtown branch on 1020 S. Barr Street. He will turn 90 years old in February. “I’ve been doing it for years. I started exercising with my brothers and they showed me what to do and i did it.”
McClure started at the YMCA when he was 8 years old, participating in camps and programs. Now more than 80 years later, the YMCA said McClure is one of its oldest members and possibly its oldest and longest serving member.
“Phil brings that sense of community to the Y,” said Central Wellness Director Ben Linehan. “He comes in and he’s always bringing the jokes.”
“I played a lot of handball, ran into the wall many times and hurt my shoulders and everything like any other athlete,” said McClure. “The Y was so good to me when I was young. I was one of nine kids but I lost my father when I was quite young and the Y took care of me. I ended up working here a little. During World War Two soldiers and WAC’s would come here to swim and workout and I was kind of a housekeeper for them I guess while I was here. I was very young.”
The self-proclaimed housekeeper and Southside High school graduate also kept his own personal house in order, making sure to exercise on a regular basis. These days though he only walks laps in the water because it’s easy on his joints. McClure believes consistently working out at the Y has helped his health stay afloat and he’s inspired others to do the same.
“He brings that longevity to it,” said Linehan. “He’s an embodiment that fitness is life long. It’s a lifestyle change that he has kept for 80 plus years and he loves it.”
“Yes, I love it,” said McClure. “I have six daughters and believe it or not my youngest daughter is very active at the Y in Cleveland, Ohio. My wife used to work out but doesn’t anymore.”
“Phil is great. He keeps his head above water and keeps moving,” said aerobics instructor Pat White. “He really is an inspiration to stay active.”
McClure is one of 89,500 members of the YMCA Greater Fort Wayne. More than 11,000 attend the central branch. The first YMCA in Fort Wayne was organized in 1858. You can get information on its programs by going to the YMCA Greater Fort Wayne website.