Don Reinhoudt, who won the 1979 World’s Strongest Man contest, died after a car crash in New York earlier this week.
He was 78 years old.
New York State Police announced earlier this week Reinhoudt skidded off the side of a road and crashed into a tree in Pomfret on Monday.
After being taken to Brooks Memorial Hospital, Reinhoudt was pronounced dead.
The investigation into the fatal wreck continued until Wednesday’s announcement.
Reinhoudt, who also won the World Powerlifting Superheavyweight Championship four years in a row from 1973–76, was remembered as a gentleman.
“Don, to me, was always the gentle giant with his hands that were like baseball mitts,” said his widow, Pamela Reinhoudt. told The Post-Journal, “But if you ever want to feel really secure in life, this is where you want those big mittens of his to be wrapped around you.
“It comes from somewhere deep inside. I think some people are just naturally born to have that character trait of true goodness and I think Don was one of those rare individuals who had it, and somehow throughout his life he managed to cultivate and nurture it. Found a way to do it for the greater good. , , ,
According to his obituary, he was inducted into seven Halls of Fame, including the USA National Hall of Fame for Powerlifting, the World Powerlifting Hall of Fame, and the New York State Strength and Power Hall of Fame.
In addition to Pamela, Reinhoudt is survived by his sister Miriam, children Molly and Benjamin, and grandchildren Lukasz and Zofia.
according to his obituaryReinhoudt served as executive director of the Chautauqua County Youth Bureau for 25 years until his retirement in 2009.
Randy Anderson, president of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, said, “Don could have been anything he wanted to be because of his skill in the world of powerlifting.”
“But what did he choose to do? He chose to live in Chautauqua County and work with the youth of our county. Talk about a man who had his priorities in order.