Fitness entrepreneur Thomas Minichiello died peacefully at the age of 89 at Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers on the morning of Sep 28, 2022, just hours before Hurricane Ian made landfall along Florida’s west coast.
Born in Brooklyn, New York on Nov 22, 1932 to Italian immigrants Rocco and Margaret Minichiello, Tom grew up in nearby Queens. He served in active duty with the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He married Theresa DeLuca in 1957 and they raised two sons while living in the Bronx and Westchester County.
Tom’s interest in fitness began as an early teenager and, after starting at the Vic Tanny chain at the age of 25, he went on to fulfill his dream of having his own gym when he founded the Mid-City Health Club in 1962 in midtown Manhattan. Located in Times Square and the surrounding theater district during a time considered to be the golden era of bodybuilding, Mid-City’s membership grew rapidly, as well as becoming the port-of-call for out-of-towners.
Tom was very involved in advancing the sport of bodybuilding. He was Vice President of the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB) and later founded the American Federation of Amateur Bodybuilders. He judged many IFBB and Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) competitions and produced events at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Madison Square Garden’s Felt Forum, including the sport’s most prestigious Mr Olympia contests. In 1985, Tom was a member of the first class of inductees into the Bodybuilding Hall of Fame in York, Pennsylvania.
In 1989, Tom sold Mid-City Gym (still operating today) and retired to southwest Florida. He wrote articles on weight training and nutrition and was outspoken about cleaning-up the use of steroids in sports. In 1997, he authored the book “Bodybuilders, Drugs & Sex.” Tom also enjoyed the beaches and building model ships and continued his weight-lifting routine. He constantly encouraged others to stay fit and healthy, and curious youngsters sometimes knocked on his door, interested in training with him.
Tom married a second time in 1998 to Eleanore Noga and they remained together until her death in 2010. He is survived by his two sons and their families, including two daughters-in-law, six grandchildren, and one great-grandson. Tom is now reunited with so many of the people he touched throughout his life and will always be remembered by the imprint he left on others. May he rest in peace….