YMCA dedicates new spin studio to memory of former instructor Brian Leaf

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ROCKFORD (WREX) – Family and friends joined together on Sunday to make sure a man who touched so many lives through fitness is never forgotten.

“I welcome you here to dedicate this new spin studio to Brian’s memory,” YMCA of Rock River Valley CEO Brent Pentenburg said.

When people climb on their spin bikes at SwedishAmerican’s Riverfront YMCA, there will be a familiar name welcoming them to their workout.

“Brian was an institution to our community, he was a great spin instructor,” Pentenburg said.

Two years ago, Brian Leaf, a longtime reporter for the Rockford Register Star and a YMCA spin instructor passed away suddenly at the age of 57, doing exactly what he loved to do…spin.

“He loved music, he loved spin, and he’s with us still,” Brian’s wife Mary Kaull said.

And on Sunday, Brian’s love for spin became memorialized at the place he called his ‘home away from home’ — as the Y dedicated it’s new spin studio to him.

“I thought about this room, I was hoping it was going to happen, but just looking around, looking at the people here, how wonderful the room is, it’s a great thing,” Kaull said.

It’s a welcome change for Brian’s family who continue to choose to workout at the Y even after his death.

“I’m so grateful to be able to come to spin classes again in a new room. Being in the old room was just too hard,” Kaull said. “I guess we all hope to die doing something we love, but he is gone, nonetheless. I know I speak for many of you that we still miss him very very much.”

A new room to remember a man who touched so many lives here in Rockford through his love of spin.

“All of this just really shows Brian really left a legacy here in Rockford,” Pentenburg said.

Brian’s friends and family donated $15,000 to the Y, which was used to transform the space with new flooring, a new sound and light system and inspiring artwork.

The Y invested an additional $45,000 for 25 new matrix spin bikes. A first ride celebration is being planned and will be announced soon.

Taylor Utzig

Taylor Utzig


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