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90-year-old wakes up Stafford YMCA page 2
Stafford County man, 90, has been opening up the Massad branch of the YMCA for 20 years

 YMCA patron Tina Jackson (left) walks with YMCA employee Norman Sedgley after their morning workouts. Sedgley opens the Y's Massad Family Branch in Stafford for patrons.
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Date published: 11/26/2012


"If I didn't have something to get up for, it would be awful easy to stay in bed," he said.

Sedgley greets each person he sees, but clearly lavishes more attention on the ladies.

"Ah, here's the love of my life," he said, arms outstretched to Janet Gindlesperger, who wore a purple jogging suit.

"How many times have you said that this morning?" she said, smiling. Then, she mimicked the rest of his spiel, which always includes, "You're my No. 1."

When he does talk to men, it's often to fuss. He asked one man when he was going to shave the scruff off his face and make himself look presentable.

"The ladies are talking about it," Sedgley joked.


When Sedgley really gets going, with a pep in his step and a smile on his lips, Taylor calls Sedgley "Stormin' Norman." Others refer to him as "the mayor of the YMCA," or the king, holding court for his subjects.

That's why his friend Folden kneels and pretends to kiss Sedgley's hand each morning before he leaves the YMCA.

Taylor says Sedgley has slowed down in recent months. She thinks it's because of recurring respiratory and heart problems, but isn't certain because he says little about himself.

"He thinks he's made of steel," Taylor said. "He'll never admit anything is wrong with him."

But like other early birds at the YMCA, she's come to look for his red Cadillac in the parking lot. It's always in the first space on the second row, tires backed up into the grass.

Likewise, its driver is usually at the front desk, waiting for her. Once she's there, he heads to the pool--and always swims in Lane 6.

He typically wears a dress shirt and pants, even when he climbs on a treadmill.

"I'm comfortable in them, and I try to look halfway decent," he said.


Sedgley isn't the only creature of habit. People panic when he and his car are not in their appointed places.

Taylor got so worried about three years ago when she didn't hear from him, she called 911 after she couldn't reach him on the phone.

He had suffered a heart attack. He said it was his fault because he'd been eating a lot of junk food.

On the rare occasion when he misses a morning, the YMCA is abuzz with concern.

"If he doesn't show up, the whole place is up in arms," said Kayla Knutson, an exercise teacher.

Taylor has threatened to post a sign announcing his whereabouts, just so she doesn't have to repeat the same story a hundred times.

"When he isn't here, it's like we're in an alternative universe," Taylor said, "We don't know what to do."

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425
Email: cdyson@freelancestar.com

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BACKGROUND: He was born and raised in Maine and loved it there, except for the winters. Most of his friends there have died, and he hasn't been back in 10 years. MILITARY SERVICE: Served in some of the biggest conflicts of the European theater during World War II, including the Battle of the Bulge, but doesn't talk much about his experiences. "They aren't good memories," he said. CAREER: He was a rigging superintendent who set heavy equipment on nuclear- and coal-fired power plants. Came to Virginia in 1971 to work at North Anna and stayed in the area. RETIRED in 1984. "If I had known I was going to live so long, I wouldn't have retired so early," he said. FAMILY: Was married 56 years to Clara, who taught school for 25 years in Maine and died in 2002. Has one daughter, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild.