Joy Goff shared her love of exercise for 35 years at H-F Racquet & Fitness Club

  Joy Goff, left, greets Larry Pettis as Gail Kaufman looks
  on. Goff retired from the H-F Racquet & Fitness Club
  staff in May.
(Photos by Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
 
Instructor Joy Goff has been on the move sharing her enthusiasm for stepping, swimming and stretching for 35 years with guests at the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District’s Racquet & Fitness Club.
 
Now she's put her motions on pause.
 
Dozens of her students came to wish her well at a farewell party May 23 offering their thanks for all her efforts. Goff received a bouquet after she taught her last water aerobics class earlier that month. 
 
“I love my job and I love the people,” she said as friends gathered around her.
 
  Bernie Slaughter, right,
  says good-bye to Joy Goff,
  who had been her water
  aerobics instructor.
  Goff recently ended her
  long career at the H-F
  Racquet & Fitness
  Club. 

 
“She is the best,” said Larry Pettis. “She welcomed me into the family about 10 years ago. She’s been a great instructor. I love her and I’ll miss her.”
 
Bernie Slaughter, who took Goff’s water aerobics and floor exercise classes, told her: “Thank you for keeping me motivated, happy and healthy.”
 
“(Her class) is part of our lives and Joy is part of our lives,” said Pat Boysen. Another guest called Goff “the Energizer bunny. She just keeps going.”
 
Goff said she is sorry to say good-bye but she is preparing for her move from the H-F community after 50 years so she can  be closer to family. She hopes to find a new place to keep active.
 
Goff remembered serving on the park district’s advisory committee when the racquet club building was being planned more than 40 years ago.  At the time she was an avid tennis player and had been an instructor for programs sponsored by the park district and the YMCA that met at the village hall and Churchill School.  
 
She remembers a dance class she taught for the ‘Y’ because “it was the most fun thing I did. It was like a choreographed show, everyone was dancing.”
 
Goff was a swimmer on her high school team and has played tennis since she was 5 so being involved in physical exercise was a perfect fit. She and her husband, the late Don Goff, had five children. When the youngest was in kindergarten, Goff joined the staff at the racquet club as the fitness coordinator. 
 
Sometimes Goff would teach eight or nine classes in a week between the Irwin Center and the club, including yoga, exercise classes specifically for seniors, aqua aerobics, pilates and floor exercises.
 
Sue Pilewski, who has taken both exercise and aqua aerobics, said as an instructor Goff always went the extra mile.

“She’d say ‘Do it this way to make it count.’ Or, ‘Stand up straight.’ She was always more than just 1-2-3, 1-2-3. Her classes always had a lot of variety.”
 
Over the years, Goff hired seven others to take on the fitness coordinator role, including Shelley Strasser, now the membership sales and marketing supervisor at the racquet club.
 
“She’s been a role model for me in how you remain active as an instructor,” Strasser said. “A lot of people feel they age out of it and stop but we’ve always found a way to remain in it.”

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