10/21/12 — Gurley remembered as a weightlifter

View Archive

Gurley remembered as a weightlifter

By From staff reports
Published in News on October 21, 2012 1:50 AM

A bodybuilder who lifted weights and the spirits for generations of athletes has died Oct. 6.

R.L. Gurley, a Wayne County native and one of the nation's weightlifting pioneers, was the founder of Gurley's Gym and instrumental in bringing the sport to the area as a weightlifting champion, mentor and coach.

An inaugural inductee and founder of the N.C. Barbell Hall of Fame, Gurley twice placed first in the National Masters, setting the national record in Wichita, Kan.

He also set a National Masters bench press record at the age of 60 with a lift of 400 pounds.

Gurley, 80, was a graduate of Goldsboro High School and retired from Southern Bell after 31 years before opening his gym.

He ran his gym for 21 years, providing fitness training and life coaching for young men in downtown Goldsboro.

A lifter who began competing in the 1950s --before it was encouraged by athletics coaches -- he also played a vital role in designing the weightlifting programs at Goldsboro and Eastern Wayne high schools in the 1970s.