Powerhouse Gym to honor Gohlke

Published 11:17 am Saturday, March 5, 2016

PORT NECHES — Almost six months have passed since the death of Chris Gohlke, yet his positive influence on others remains as strong as ever.

Gohlke, who was part of the 1999 Port Neches-Groves High School state finalist football team and a former trainer at Powerhouse Gym, 2825 Nall St. in Port Neches, was known for his natural athletic prowess as well as his dedication to helping others without seeking anything in return.

Now, friends and former co-workers are dedicating a room at the gym in honor of Gohlke where one of his students will now coach sports performance.

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“It’s so hard to express what a good trainer he was and he had a heart as big as the size of this gym,” Susan McGuire, owner/partner of the gym, said.

Mike Owens, owner/partner in the gym, had known Gohlke for many years so when he planned to open the gym he naturally reached out to Gohlke. At that time more than five years ago, Gohlke worked at a different gym. The parties met, worked together and soon Gohlke made the move, bringing with him many of his clients.

“Chris mapped out the room, chose the colors, the turf,” Owens said.

But Gohlke didn’t just train skilled athletes.

Owens told of Gohlke working with a middle school-aged girl who was in a wheelchair. They did band exercises, reaction drills and more.

“That’s something most people don’t know about Chris,” Cathy Gohlke, Chris’ mother, said. “He had a love for all kids. It takes a special type of person to work with a person with special needs. And he had talked about working with Wounded Warriors.”

Ricki Calvert, who was named Texas Women’s Powerlifting State Chamption in 2011, first met Gohlke in her sophomore year of high school.

She credits her work with Gohlke as a key to her success.

Gohlke was founder of Gohlke Training Systems, or GTS, and Calvert said he was also a friend.

“From the second I stepped into GTS, Chris treated me just like family. I could talk to him about anything whether it be the day’s workout or things going on in my life at that time,” Calvert said. “He was always there to listen and give me advice when I needed it.”

Calvert believes she never would have won all the medals and plaques without the help of Gohlke.

“I remember walking into the gym the Monday after my state meet and it was covered in signs saying that I had won,” Calvert said. “Someone could take away all of my plaques and medals that I earned, and I would be OK with it. It wouldn’t matter, because those are nothing compared to all of the memories that I gained along the way with Chris.

“He was so passionate about the work that he did in the gym, and that passion was passed onto so many of those that he trained. That passion is the legacy of Chris that will live on forever.”

Bryan Gohlke, Chris’ brother, said Chris’ work as a trainer also taught lessons in life.

“He was not only athletic. He taught people not to quit. You’re going to get knocked down, people will knock you down, and you get up,” Bryan Gohlke said. “His lessons work with life as well.”

For all the confidence, God given talent and passion for his work, Gohlke had a different side many didn’t know of.

“So many people who came to know Chris saw a guy with confidence and put-together,” Owens said.

What some didn’t know was that Gohlke battled with depression.

“Even people you think have it together may struggle,” Owens said. “It’s OK to talk about it.”

Cathy Gohlke looked back at the man with the big heart who confided in her about his mental illness.

“Don’t be afraid to talk to others about it. He talked to me. He talked to Mike and he sought professional help. Unfortunately, it took his life,” she said.

A special plaque will be unveiled in Gohlke’s honor during a Minor Professional Football League game between the Golden Triangle Seminoles and the Austin Vipers at 7 p.m. March 5 at the Carroll A. “Butch” Thomas Stadium, 5250 Bayou Willow Way, Beaumont.

In addition, Powerhouse Gym will be selling T-shirts and other items to raise funds for the Chris Gohlke Scholarship Fund.

Donations for the scholarship fund can be made at Neches Federal Credit Union in Port Neches.

E-mail: mary.meaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews