In Memoriam: Paolo Minissi

It is with great sadness that we must deliver news that our leader, owner and general manager, Paolo Minissi, passed away on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011. Paolo opened the doors of Castle Hill Fitness 9 years ago with a vision of building a community devoted to health and fitness. In this moment of great loss, we are reminded of this vision and the legacy of what he built within these walls will continue. He will be remembered for his ingenuity, his tenacity, his mischievous sense of humor, and most of all, his kindness to others.

Paolo Minissi
Paolo Minissi
Leader / Owner / General Manager / Father
1957 – 2011

Paolo was born on February 7, 1957 in Genoa, Italy. He attended college in Brussels, Belgium where he obtained a physics degree in 1978. He moved to Austin shortly thereafter to attend a graduate program at UT, then went on to found several successful businesses, including MetalOptics, The Rowing Dock, and Castle Hill Specialized Fitness. Read Paolo’s short autobiography…

In addition to his business acumen, Paolo was an avid cyclist who enjoyed seeing the world from the seat of his Pinarello. He had an innate ability to make those around him feel special, and to bring out their best. He was a mentor and friend to many, and he will be greatly missed.

Paolo is survived by his daughter, Rita Minissi, of Baltimore; mother, Maria Antonietta Lombardi, sister Rita Minissi and brother-in-law Philippe Mahillon, niece Lidia Mahillon, and nephew Nicolas Mahillon, all of Brussels, Belgium; as well as numerous friends he considered like family. He was preceded in death by his father, Sergio Minissi.


The memorial to celebrate Paolo’s life will be held at the One World Theatre on Friday, December 2nd at 10am.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to Austin Yellow Bike Project, 1216 Webberville Rd., Austin, TX 78721; http://austinyellowbike.org

There will also be a memorial bike ride to celebrate Paolo leaving from Castle Hill Fitness on Saturday, December 10th at 10am. This will be a short ride climbing Mt. Bonnell.


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Krista Del Gallo
Guest
Krista Del Gallo

I have never been more impressed with the way a business was run than Castle Hill. An extraordinarily warm and personable owner, Paolo has attracted an immensely talented staff and created a beautiful space in which to foster personal fitness and practice.

Peter Berner
Guest
Peter Berner

Paolo etait la seule raison que j’ai entre comme membre du Castle Hill il fait 9 annes. le charisme eprsonelle, e charme et son amitie une presence constant. C’etait toujours avec d’anticipation et tres heureusse que j’ai suis allez aux club chque jour aven l’espoir de voir Paolo e parler meme queleques moths avec lui. Il me manquera chaque jour. Un vrai ami, un bon homme q’on ouboies jamais. Je suis fiere de avoir la chnace de le connaitre e de etre son ami.

Ellen Kolsto
Guest
Ellen Kolsto

I’ve never really known a gym owner at other places where I’ve gone but at Castle Hill, Paolo knew who I was as a daily visitor to yoga classes there. He was kind enough to give me one of the used Manduka yoga mats rather than take the payment I offered for it. He reasoned that it would get better use if he gave it to me. I was so grateful for that mat. Rest in peace Paolo…you were kind and generous and will be greatly missed.

Diane Supanich
Guest
Diane Supanich

I feel like I knew you Paola for a lifetime even though it was only briefly. Paola, you made a great impression on me. You were warm, friendly, sincere, and had a great sense of humor. You were as big as the big city of Austin itself and will so terribly be missed. I wanted to come to Austin and see you again. My condolences go out to all who have had the pleasure of knowing you and especially your family.

Your Upper Michigan friend – Diane.

Betty Knight
Guest
Betty Knight

The reason Castle Hill was Voted “Best Gym” was because of Paolo and the love, care, and attention he gave to everything and everyone. He was truly and exceptional person in so many ways. He will be sorely missed!

Bill Davidson
Guest
Bill Davidson

It is difficult for me to comment on someone’s life because my experience with people, as with Paolo, is a mere snapshot of the entirety. But, I really enjoyed the small part of Paola that I experienced. He was a force. He had such charisma and energy that just being around him was energizing. And he cared. I always looked forward to going to the gym and having Paolo in his cubicle. The master of his domain. He created the gym and seemed to care about everyone who came in the door, planning for that person to have a good… Read more »

Matt Welch
Guest
Matt Welch

I was very sad to learn of Paolo’s passing and still can’t believe he is gone. When I moved to Austin, this crazy Italian took me under his wing and taught me how to cycle to the fullest. He was the one who took me on my first ride on 2222 & Hwy 360! He somehow knew that I could actually make it up some big hills if he encouraged (yelled) at me at precisely the right moment. Part coach, bike mechanic and training mentor, Paolo was always there to give advice, help and support to those who needed it.… Read more »

jesse slate
Guest
jesse slate

The Paolo I knew was a man of selfless generosity and a cultivator of the high culture of cycling. My deepest sympathies to those closest to him. I am truly beside myself. His memory will be alive with me at yellow bike.

Pierre Filardi
Guest
Pierre Filardi

“IL Campionissimo”. I will dearly miss his presence, charm, intellect, and style. I know the Castle will carry on with his fine staff and devoted clients. I am proud to have known him.

Dana Wills
Guest
Dana Wills

I will forever be grateful that Paolo had the vision to grow our yoga community in Austin, from which he essentially gave my yoga it’s early home, and changed my life. From my following Gia and Murti there, to my introduction to Maricarmen, to the building of my Ashtanga practice with Juan, to the profound 500 hours of studying yogic philosophy and asana with Gioconda there. He and I often talked business and encouraged one another; he was always willing to have frank, insightful and collaborative conversation. I’ll miss looking for him in that little office. Thank you for life,… Read more »

Emily James
Guest
Emily James

I had the pleasure of knowing Paolo and working for him. He always made me laugh just by being himself, with his painted toenails and his spandex outfits. He was a character you couldn’t write in a novel, a truly original human being and a visionary businessman. I owe a lot to him. I remember I was going through a difficult time when I worked there because of my love relationship. Something I had never spoken to Paolo about. It was really hard for me to eat due to the anxiety I felt at the time and apparently I had… Read more »

HUNTER BLUDWORTH
Guest
HUNTER BLUDWORTH

PAOLO WAS A JOY TO BE AROUND AND I ALWAYS ENJOYED OUR DISCUSSIONS. HE MADE ANYONE HE WAS AROUND FEEL LIKE THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS WERE IMPORTANT. WE’VE BEEN HELPING REPAIR THE EQUIPMENT AT THE “HILL” FOR YEARS AND THERE’S A REASON THAT I’LL TELL ANYONE WHO ASKS THAT IT’S MY FAVORITE GYM AND CLIENT IN TOWN. PAOLO’S GREAT PERSONALITY IS REFLECTED IN ALL OF THE EMPLOYEES AND FRIENDS THAT HE SURROUNDED HIMSELF WITH. I WILL MISS HIM GREATLY. PAOLO’S FAMILY (INCLUDING HIS EXTENDED “HILL” FAMILY) ARE IN MY PRAYERS.
~HUNTER BLUDWORTH – TEXERTEX

Jim Day
Guest
Jim Day

I owe Paolo so much… he bought me my first race bike, a Pinarello FP2 which hangs in my garage to this day. Were it not for his influence, I would not have had the opportunity to join Team Wooly Mammoth and wouldn’t have had the opportunities which have allowed me to become the cyclist I am today. He introduced me to many of the people I know and love at Castle Hill and in the cycling community. He also employeed me for over a year in his bike shop, where I was able to learn some of the finer… Read more »

Jen Dickey
Guest
Jen Dickey

My heart aches with pain that you are gone, Paolo. And yet how wonderful to read such amazing posts about the positive and powerful impact you have had on others. You have touched my life — I’m so grateful to have been able to know you these last couple of months and walk alongside you. My love, thoughts and prayers to all.

Alissa Magrum
Guest
Alissa Magrum

I cannot describe the sadness I felt when hearing of Paolo’s passing. My favorite memories are from the Alaska AIDS Vaccine ride we did together in 2000. Temperatures started out in the 30’s and we had on SO many layers of clothes. By mile 80 (of a 90 mile route), temps were in the 70’s and we were melting and stripping off layers of clothes with no where to put them. Paolo attached all of our extra gear, clothes. arm warmers, leg warmers, jackets and gloves to his Camelbak–told us to get our asses on our bikes and finish the… Read more »

Mandy Eubanks
Guest
Mandy Eubanks

Paolo was the friendliest person around. His openness was reflected in his no door policy for his office space. His generosity was immeasurable. When I took over the Love Yoga Co-op, which in some ways would be “competition” as it was a yoga studio less then two miles away. He did nothing but support me. In fact he donated 10 Manduka mats and encouraged me to plaster the cafe event board with our posters. I owe Paolo so much. He constantly supported my teachings and asked more from me, in a good way. He gave me confidence in myself and… Read more »

Gioconda Parker
Guest
Gioconda Parker

Where do I begin to speak about the force that Paolo Minissi has been in my life? Friend, mentor, father figure, student, coach, co-conspirator and co-creator are a few of the words that can in no way sum up the range of experience and connection we shared over the years. He got me to the Castle, a place where so many new opportunities for community, for learning, for friendship and a sense of family happened. He got me on my bike, and I have seen this beautiful country and lived some of my favorite moments in nature from the saddle.… Read more »

Clayton Maxwell
Guest
Clayton Maxwell

This was really good to read, Gioconda. I know you go way back with Paolo and that he was important in your life and I’ve been thinking about you.

Gary Price
Guest
Gary Price

I feel like I knew Paolo even though I just said “Hey” in passing. One of the things that immediately attracted me to Castle Hill was the clear fact–simply from the design, layout, lighting, and everything–that it was conceived and maintained by people who give a damn. Passion–though quiet–was clearly in evidence. While working on a machine for example (or being tortured by Stephanie or Deborah et al.), sometimes my eye would fall on some clever little design or structural detail that would bring a smile to my face. There is a beautiful and strong personality in the very “stuff”… Read more »

Jessica Mueller
Guest
Jessica Mueller

Though I’ve been a member at the Castle since 2007, I never talked to Paolo (except for the time I somehow locked myself in the cafe after closing and set off the alarm…). But the gym he built really did change my life. I’m a writer and work at home, and going to Castle Hill is often my biggest outing of the day. It’s where my body and mind recharge, where I lip synch like an insane person on the treadmill, where my yoga practice has flourished beyond what I thought possible. The gym is also where I wrote maybe… Read more »

Alissa Magrum
Guest
Alissa Magrum

“I wish you could have been there for the sun and the rain and the long hard hills. For the sound of a thousand conversations scattered along the road. For the people laughing & crying & remembering at the end. But mainly, I wish you could have been there.” –Wishlist by Brian Andreas… Paolo you helped us make the Wish List Jersey Project a reality and I will ride in mine on Saturday in your honor. If anyone else would like to get a Wish List Jersey for Saturday to ride in Paolo’s honor, we will donate the proceeds of… Read more »

Maggie Lewis
Guest
Maggie Lewis

I was so saddened when I saw Paolo’s picture in the obits today. My only connection with Paolo was in Clayton’s yoga classes on Mondays several years ago. I had no idea who he was, but he was so funny, cheerful, smart and a really nice person. It made me happy when he was in class! Later I realized his connection with Castle Hill and that he was the force behind the many improvements and the amazing yoga classes/teachers. He obviously had an impact on many and will be missed.

Tammy Stanley
Guest
Tammy Stanley

Paolo, you touched my life and my heart. You were wonderful & loving & giving & cranky & irreverant & VERY ITALIAN & silly & at times, an asshole { something he called himself, for those of you who did not know that side of him } You showed up in our lives and it was a fun ride we had all together. So many good times and special moments. You pushed me beyond what I thought I could do at times, especially in Alaska on the AIDS ride. Thank you my friend for being so Paolo, you are truly… Read more »

Kristi Curry and Gary Seghi
Guest
Kristi Curry and Gary Seghi

We’ve known Paolo for quite a few years and are deeply saddened by his passing. Over the years, he was always numero uno in offering up anything to help Gary get through his lengthy rehabilitation after multiple surgeries. He was always there to offer help with anything that came up in conversation. Once, he became the Italian interpreter helping us with a large tile order from Italy. I just looked back in my emails and we exchanged over 80 emails in 5 months as he helped us with the translations. He gave us valuable time and help and not once… Read more »

Clayton Maxwell
Guest
Clayton Maxwell

Paolo, thank you for so much. Thank you for speaking to me in Italian every once in a while– you made me feel so international. Thank you for your exuberance and those awesome painted black toenails I noticed during yoga class. Thank you for creating a special place for me to come do yoga with wonderful people like Gio and Maricarmen, and get my hiney-kicked by Amid. I know you were in pain, and I am very sorry for that– I didn’t know, but now I wish you freedom from it. You are a good man.

Mallory
Guest
Mallory

To all of my Castle Hill Family and Friends- you are in my thoughts and prayers. Paolo was a great leader. I miss you all and wish I could be there with you during this painful time. Remember to celebrate his life, for he was an extremely successful and vivacious man. Full of ideas and vision. One of the first things Paolo said to me when I was working the front desk: “Don’t take shit from anyone Rookie.” He helped shape me and my career. He will definitely be missed.

Karen Heath
Guest
Karen Heath

My son, Christian, went to grammar school with Paolo’s daughter, Rita, and that is how I know him. He was a wonderful father to Rita and loved her dearly. I have nothing but the best to say about how kind and fun-loving this man was and how everyone who met him was lifted up because of his warm and friendly personality. My heart felt regrets over his death go out to his entire family and to his many close friends. May Paolo rest in peace.

Kelly Gerlich
Guest
Kelly Gerlich

Although I did not know Paolo well, I do know that he was an incredible man. My husband Jerry cherished their time together and looked forward to their “boys nights out” playing pool, seeing a movie or just talking, not to mention those epic bike rides. Thank you Paolo for being such a kind friend to Jerry, you will be sorely missed by us both.

Roxanne Yates
Guest
Roxanne Yates

“Nothing is ever lost, it just changes form…”
Paolo, in some magical way touched so many lives and in so many ways. The grace, dignity and courage exhibited by Jerry, Vlad, Celeste, Amy and the entire staff at Castlehill during this painful and sad time is not only a testament to their respect of and friendship with Paolo, it is a loving tribute to the man who made this community, the community of Castlehill, possible.
Peace be with you, Paolo and may the wind be always at your back.

kristi lankford
Guest
kristi lankford

Wow…you will me sorely missed and I am so saddened by the news of your passing. I was there in the early days of Castle Hill as a staff member and have missed those days a lot. I know that where you are there are many roads to ride and many mountains to climb (and descend). My thoughts are with your family.

Deborah West
Guest
Deborah West

Dear P Head (as you called yourself): Thank you for being the best employer I have ever had, a well as a dear friend. We made it through tough times. We both hurt each other on occasions, but we forgave and kept at it until the end…the absolute definition of a good friend 🙂 Your the only person I ever taught Pilates to that figured it out in a few sessions and began teaching me new tricks of torture. You are a brilliant soul. I will never forget how you drove all night to my 40th birthday party in Marathon… Read more »

Jenny Wicke
Guest
Jenny Wicke

Paolo inspired me to be who I am and not less. I will continue to live that way and think of him with love and appreciation. He was a good friend with a big heart. I valued his rawness and truth, qualities I do not see everyday. I remember his encouraging words and the time he always made to share them. Love to his family and our family at Castle Hill.

Aralyn Hughes
Guest
Aralyn Hughes

Paola was my friend since 1980. We had alot of laughs. I sold his house out North that he built himself, then moved him to a home closer to his beloved Castle Hill Fitness. He was a fun seller and buyer to work with as a Realtor and those of you who knew him can just imagine. My thoughts go to his daughter and mother, both of who he loved and that I met on and off over the years. He was loved by many and will be missed by all.

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FITblog - In memoriam

[…] here at Austin Fit Magazine are saddened by the loss of Paolo Minissi, founder of Castle Hill Fitness and several other Austin-area […]

Kristin Breshears
Guest
Kristin Breshears

I will always remember how welcoming and friendly Paolo treated everyone who came into Castle Hill or Food for Fitness. I only had the pleasure of joining Paolo on a couple of Castle Hill rides, but was warmed & welcomed by his enthusiasm, sense of adventure & sense of humor. He will be dearly missed.

Paul Cross
Guest
Paul Cross

Paolo was a friend and mentor to me when I first moved to Austin. He gave me unique insight into various pricing structures that I still use today in my business. He was a tinkerer of ideas and a man who saw the world in its simplicity. He was gifted across disparate domains for which to improve one’s life that we all are better for…

I enjoyed our intellectual conversations. He will be missed.

Shine on Paolo!

-PC

Erin Truslow
Editor
Erin Truslow

Paolo ~ After reading all of these postings on multiple blogs, I can only smile through tears. It is so evident how you touched so many lives, how you evoke change and thought within so many. I wanted you to know as if you didn’t already, how thankful I am to have known you at all. To be one of the hundreds of lives you shined on. The Castle saved me when I needed it most. This was the place I felt the most joy and love from when I walked in the door during a very hard time in… Read more »

Michael Edelstone
Guest
Michael Edelstone

One time I told Paolo I thought about walking my bike up a hill. He immediately wrote me back the following: “There is no walking a hill, is there? Even if you have to puke on your shorts to survive it and/or zigzag right in front of the wheel of a redneck semi coming down full speed the other way! I have a mantra for the really steep ones that I use on my fixie with great success. I recite it rather loudly when the going gets tough and the cadence goes to shit: left foot – FUCK, right foot… Read more »

Randeen Torvik Ragan
Guest
Randeen Torvik Ragan

I was so lucky to have interned at Castle Hill, where Paulo presided with a quick smile and energy that was hard to beat. it is a testament to Paulo that the management team and so many trainers have thrived for years at Castle Hill, making it the most prized fitness environment in town. my heart goes out to you all.

Laura Farley Scott
Guest
Laura Farley Scott

We will all miss you, Paolo. The fitness community will miss you. Thank you for Castle Hill. Your wisdom and dedication to health and fitness, combined with ingenuity and technology makes Castle Hill far superior to other gyms. You had that Midas touch, always successful in everything you touched. Rest in peace, my friend, we feel your presence at the gym, but you leave a space that cannot be filled, only remembered.

Debbie de Haas
Guest
Debbie de Haas

Very sad to learn this evening of Paolo’s passing. I recruited for his company, Metal Optics, back in the mid 90’s. Such an impressive man, brilliant, concerned for the environment, kind, understanding… and then met him again when I did yoga at his gym. Such a loss for all of us. Rest in peace, dear man.

laura lossen
Guest
laura lossen

I would like to offer my gratitude to Paolo for creating Castle Hill. It has changed my life in many ways. I have met so many friends relaxing in the sauna! I discovered a love of yoga through Gia, Maricarmen and Dido’s amazing classes and the pilates studio got me back in shape after having a baby. I feel as though I am home when I am at Castle Hill. Whether I am on a yoga mat or on a reformer in pilates the use of natural light and the design of the space brings a smile and inspires me.… Read more »

Laura Nayman
Guest
Laura Nayman

I was very very sad to learn that Paolo died and I immediately thought of how his family will feel because my father died about a year ago and it is still very devastating to think about.
Paolo helped me to pick out my current mountain bike, a BMC Four Stroke.
I did not know him well, but every time we spoke, he got me more excited about cycling and traveling. He was quite inspiring.

Carmel Fenves
Guest
Carmel Fenves

It is with great sadness that today, from my front door, I see that the lights to Castle Hill Fitness are not on. I remember the first time that my husband and I met Paolo. Three and a half years ago, we were new in Austin and thrilled to meet someone who knew the small town in Italy, where we had just spent a while– an omen that told us that this was the right place to be. So fun and refreshing to share an “italian moment” with Paolo. I hope that his spirit and soul has found a safe… Read more »

Adrienne (Burris) Anderson
Guest
Adrienne (Burris) Anderson

I remember he didn’t talk to me the first 6 months I worked at Castle Hill because he “wasn’t sure I was going to last”. Once he knew I’d stick around he helped my expand my career at the gym. I look up the to as a businessman, but ever more as a person. He always cracked a joke or a smile for me. I hope he knew how much he affected my life. He will be missed greatly. I pray for him, his family, all those at Castle Hill and especially those who never had the chance to meet… Read more »

Karla Frazier
Guest
Karla Frazier

It is with a heavy heart that I write this. Paolo possessed a wonderful, giving spirit. I have enjoyed knowing you and the gift you left for the world. Thank you for all you have done. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. We will forever celebrate your life.

Kim Buser
Guest
Kim Buser

Paolo made Castle Hill a personal, intimate gym, the antithesis of the anonymous mega gyms that permeate our city. I was a member for a year, and I am saddened to hear of Paolo’s passing, for he was so personable and warm. I remember one time he told me:”You are like clockwork, my friend.” He said this to me because of my consistent workout schedule, and I took it as the highest compliment from someone so dedicated to fitness.

Emily Fleming-Nash
Guest
Emily Fleming-Nash

Paolo Minissi: A Real Life Superman.
You’ve cast your loving spell on all of us…
And we’ll never be the same.
Forever connected. Forever inspired.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Bo Baskin
Guest
Bo Baskin

I ride a bike today. That is a direct connection to you my friend. I ride my Pinarello with pride and enjoy telling people I meet on the road (or trails) my cycling background, the Castle Hill community I ride with and how my cycling lineage begins with Paolo Minissi. Epic rides! In my time of need, like so many others I read about on this post, Paolo was there for me with a job, or he would sit down at a long lunch to just ask you how you were doing and if he could help. Such awesome generosity.… Read more »

Caroline Wright
Guest
Caroline Wright

Paolo had more impact on me than I realized. He was a very involved part of the first Yoga Teacher Training, and a wonderful mentor in entrepreneurship. He helped me to realize the possibility of teaching yoga and being an artist on my own terms. He gave me opportunities to teach, and the indescribably wonderful yoga community of Castle Hill. As I transitioned into being a full-time artist, I carried with me lessons from Paolo, and he supported my art career and choices at every step. The community of Castle Hill is as unique as any you could find, and… Read more »

Sarah Lodowski Kitchen
Guest
Sarah Lodowski Kitchen

Tie a reed around that first bloom that will eventually grow into a fruit, so you will know which to give as it ripens. Share your growth and your world will be bigger…

Open your heart, lower your guard.
Vulnerability is the path to closeness, to love, to grow, to heal, to be seen, to be alive

Rejoice that we are filled with good when we heal the wounds in our hearts. May we temper fear with our tears… May our love lighten the darkness. Let there be grace.