His name was Richard Di Stefano, but for the hundreds of us who trained at Dumbarton Barbell, he was known simply as "Mr. D."
The Dumbarton Barbell Club was his baby, started in a basement room (once a designated fallout shelter) of Dumbarton Middle School in 1960. Mr. D. once told me he began the club with exactly one barbell, and added on as the club grew. Today, it is a fully stocked fitness facility and one of the few weight rooms in existence with a lifting platform.
He always had a lot going on — teaching music at Dumbarton, running a sauna business, Colt Band, Lion's Club, and, last but not least, running the gym. He was a true polymath, a jack-of- all-trades who mastered them all. Former students recall how he taught lessons about life as well as music and barbells.
Mr. D., a Glen Arm resident, died on March 2.
We'd all like to leave this world with at least one legacy, something that gave our lives meaning, validation. I imagine that Mr. D. left several. Dumbarton Barbell is the one by which I know him best. It is a legacy that lives on, thanks to his close to a half century of tireless, dedicated service. I will miss him.