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The Baltimore Sun

Long before memberships in gyms were common, Hy Levasseur preached physical activity and a healthful lifestyle on a morning television show, Trimnastics.

Levasseur, nearly 69, and living in Edgewater, practices what he has championed since he appeared live on WBAL television three mornings a week for a full 90 minutes in the 1970s.

He runs three times a week on a South River High School track and through his neighborhood, and won seven Maryland Senior Olympics gold medals two years ago. He has a 17-year-old son, Christian, who he says "keeps me in shape." The two work out together at a local gym -- Christian is into weight training.

Levasseur has never stopped working. He refinishes furniture, fixes watches and jewelry, and makes mirrors. There's also his sports memorabilia business.

Born James Hyland Levasseur in Baltimore, he was coached at Boys' Latin School by Claxton "Oakie" O'Connor and went on to play midfield for the University of Virginia lacrosse team. He was a first-team All-American in 1962. He later played club lacrosse for the University Club Collegians, Mount Washington and the Carling Club.

He worked with a mentor -- Harry Kaufman -- on the Maryland Commission on Physical Fitness, where Levasseur was executive director. He appeared on television with his former wife, Jocelyn, and had guests such as Johnny Unitas, Brooks Robinson, Jesse Owens and Roy Rogers.

He later ran a gym for federal employees atop the Department of Transportation in Southwest Washington.

"I feel fortunate I don't have any aches and pains," he said. "After 40 years in this field, I feel it's all about diet, heredity, lifestyle and physical activity [and] exercise."

Jacques Kelly

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