DES MOINES, Iowa -- The fitness communities of central Iowa and in Houston, Texas, are mourning the loss of 26-year-old Baylee Hess, who died in a car crash over the weekend.
Hess worked at Anytime Fitness in downtown Des Moines and at TITLE Boxing Club in West Des Moines.
Anytime Fitness owner Jason Gast said Hess made a lasting impression on everyone she met.
“She inspired everybody. She made them really happy. She was a really positive influence in the community,” Gast said.
Hess’ friends and coworkers said she worked in a variety of gyms in Miami, Texas and central Iowa, putting her heart and soul into everything she did.
“I think Baylee was just truly passionate about fitness. It didn’t matter if it was lifting weights, group exercise, boxing, whatever it was, she was just all in. She knew what she was doing, but she was also passionate about it and that energy fed off onto everybody else,” Gast said.
About three months ago, Hess moved away from her home state of Iowa to the Houston, Texas, area to become a TITLE Boxing regional manager.
“For us and our club, she was a clear leader that we were looking for as owners. She was 26 years old, but she had the sensibility of someone who had been in the business much much longer,” TITLE Boxing Houston co-owner Reggie Orchid said.
Hess’ fitness family all over the United States said they cherish the inspiring and happy moments they shared with her.
“I think the guys used to put her on the weight sled and slide her around. It was always funny because I would walk in and see Baylee riding around on the sled,” Gast said.
Orchid said she changed so many lives in the short time she was there.
“There was one young lady who was bullied and joined our club because she was bullied and Baylee was just her hero. Baylee spent time with her. She modeled behavior for this young lady,” Orchid said.
TITLE Boxing’s John Hamilton said Hess was truly part of the family.
“She meant everything to us. She was a great leader. We all loved her,” Hamilton said.
For the next few days, TITLE Boxing locations in Texas are honoring Hess during each class before they even throw the first punch.
“In boxing, when a boxer passes away, before the fight starts they do a ten bell ring, and before every class, they do a ten bell ring for her,” Hamilton said.
Gast said the Anytime Fitness in downtown Des Moines plans to do something to honor Hess in the near future.