My One and Only: Strong Grandma

Strong Mom with 335 lbs

This is a picture of my bride of the last 34 years at what I believe was her second power lifting contest. She was 32 at the time and the mother of two. We had no idea then that there would be three more children within the next five years.

I mentioned back in Who is That Strong Old Guy that after my trial period of three months, we signed up for an annual couple’s membership. Although I had been encouraged at the progress I was making, we were surprised that over the next five years she would make gains that would make her a power lifting star. Within five short years, after winning her weight class and taking second overall in her first state championship effort, she won the Wisconsin State Overall Women’s ADFPA (American Drug Free Power Lifting Association) Championship three times. In the only chance she had between pregnancies to compete in the ADFPA Nationals, she came in a very close second.

Her short, competitive power lifting career got started pretty much by accident. In early April of 1986 we packed the two kids into the airplane and headed off to Panama City, Florida, where my parents lived at the time. Being dedicated enthusiasts, we went looking for a gym where we could lift during the week of our vacation. We found a place that was rather incongruously both fancy and hard-core. The manager just happened to be a power lifting coach and a competitor himself, and he had coached his girl friend to some minor local contest wins and respectable placings in state level competitions. However, when he saw what Strong Mommy (her name at the time) could do even as a
relative rookie, he got all worked up over her potential.

And so it went for the next week. Every morning, before taking the kids to the beach, we would trek on over to the gym and get trained as power lifters would do it. Although he was helping me too, it was awkward having this more knowledgeable guy (and yeah, he was bigger, too) futz all over my wife. It wasn’t so much that I was at all jealous; it was much more that I was feeling the sense of being left behind.

"To the Best Mom" by 9 year old Jason for her 37th birthday.

Addendum: For those interested or knowledgeable about such things, here are some of her best lifts. At a height of 5’ 2”, she always competed in the ADFPA 122 pound weight class.



Squat: Competition best 360 pounds / Best gym lifts 360 X 2 & 275 X 10

Bench Press: Competition best 155 (never really hit it right) / Best gym 145 X 9

Dead lift: Competition best 375 / Best Gym 375 X 2









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