Each month, we feature a new BTTC member. This month, meet Kathy Fonte.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from the Chicago suburbs, went to college at Eastern Illinois University (undergraduate) and then Ole Miss—Univ. Of Mississippi (master’s). Eventually moved to Michigan and then Florida.
What do you do?
I’m retired. I taught business for many years at the high school and junior college levels, followed by being a bagel franchise owner. My husband and I then got into rental property management in Florida and Michigan, where we lived until we moved out here this past February. We retired early and decided to do whatever the heck we wanted. I love volunteering; and since moving to Bellingham, I now helping at the food bank and working with the preschool program at our church, Bellingham Unitarian. I love to travel and hike.
What is one fun fact about you?
Many years ago I first met my husband at a New Year’s Eve party in Chicago. Six months later, I quit my job to join him on a bicycle trip from Washington to California. Prior to that I had done minimal riding, but I was young and in love and decided to give it a try. We drove out to Washington, got on our fully packed bikes, and headed down the coast to San Francisco. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but made me realize my physical and mental strength. By the way, we were engaged the following year!
What’s your favorite thing about coming to BTTC?
The staff—honestly. When we moved to Bellingham last February in the drizzly, cold weather (to be closer to our only son and daughter in-law in Seattle) I didn’t know anyone here. Not only did I miss the Florida sunshine but my friends of 20+ years in Florida and Michigan. On top of that I was recovering from a knee injury from the previous six months. So I felt pudgy from not exercising, I felt sad not knowing anyone, and I wondered if this “adventure” we had embarked on was a crazy idea. It was then that I stumbled across BTTC. I wanted to try to get back in shape and get back into tennis, but I was apprehensive after tearing my meniscus. When I walked into the club and was greeted by Michelle with the warmest welcome, I felt so thankful. She encouraged me to start out taking Robin’s healthy knees cycling class, which turned out to be the best class I’ve ever had. Robin’s encouragement, knowledge, and friendliness made me want to come to the class and get stronger. Every time I came to the club, I was amazed at the staff greeting me by my name; it felt like a warm hug each time and that got me through those tough first months of living in a new place. I am forever grateful for those smiles and “hugs” from the staff at the front counter. After a short while, I joined as a fitness member and started out taking some private sessions with Rhod. Through Rhod’s training and now his instruction in the Ignite course I take, I have continued to learn better techniques and smart ways to push myself to become more fit. When I felt confident and ready, I became a tennis member as well. Matt made that first tennis clinic so much fun, and his teaching skills helped me realize I could once again play tennis.
What’s the best piece of fitness or healthy living advice you have for others?
Take the time to warm up before exercising and be sure to cool down and stretch afterwards!