John Holsinger, Longtime IHRSA Team Member, Passes Away

    IHRSA is deeply saddened to inform the health and fitness industry of the death of our colleague and friend, John Holsinger. John was a passionate and knowledgeable team member who spent decades improving the industry.

    • February 24, 2022

    On Wednesday, February 23, 2022, IHRSA lost a great leader and the industry lost a giant. John Holsinger, IHRSA’s Asia-Pacific director since 2005, passed away after succumbing to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident near Adelaide, Australia. The accident occurred while he was on a long-awaited trip with his Harley motorcycle club.

    “John was a wonderful colleague and an amazing asset for IHRSA. His tireless work in the APAC region made our organization stronger and the world a healthier place,” says IHRSA President & CEO Liz Clark. “Without John, there is now a big void at IHRSA and in the entire fitness industry. While his time on earth was cut short, I take some peace knowing that he died doing what he loved.”

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    While passionate about growing and promoting the global health and fitness industry, John also loved the time he spent on his Harley with his motorcycle club.

    John enjoyed a decades-long career in the Asia-Pacific fitness industry, commanding the respect of all he met for his knowledge, wisdom, and sincere desire to help them succeed. His counsel was sought by industry leaders in China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India, Malaysia, and many other countries.

    IHRSA Board Member Loni Wang, CEO of Catic Wellness Group, Ltd., in China, recalls, “I will always fondly remember John as an inspiration to me personally, as he was such a pillar in supporting and encouraging me and the industry as a whole in China. In recent years, due to the pandemic, I really missed the face-to-face meetings we had in the past—and looked forward to so much—where he shared his wisdom on the state of the industry in the Asia-Pacific and worldwide with perspective and a measure of wit. May he be long remembered and rest peacefully.”

    In his role with IHRSA, John pursued and formed partnerships with like-minded groups to grow the industry and help fitness clubs and businesses to prosper. John’s efforts led to the development of the annual ChinaFit / IHRSA China Management Forum and the Sportec / IHRSA Management Seminars in Japan.

    “For anyone who had the opportunity to know John, you know what an amazing person he was. He was a pioneer and leader who loved our industry and the people who make it up,” notes Alison O’Kane Giannaras, IHRSA’s associate vice president of international operations. “John was a thought leader who led by example, and was a true team player. His wisdom and contributions will be deeply missed but not forgotten. The world is left as a better place because of his life.”

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    John and Alison enjoying their time at Augie's Bash in 2017.

    Hans Muench, director of international development at FIT-C Fitness Industry Technology Council and industry veteran, adds, "John was a mentor, a friend, a beacon of light. The industry ambassador we all looked up to and respected. It has been an honor for me to have known John for over 40 years. IHRSA could not have had a better spokesperson for the Asia-Pacific region. His friends around the globe are mourning and sending our love to his wife, Val."

    John’s dignified and approachable manner drew people to him. The impact he made on the global fitness industry is one that will always be remembered. He was a leader and a servant, a teacher and a student. He was a role model for all. Those of us lucky enough to have known and worked with him are better for it.

    “Words that come to mind when I think of John Holsinger are wise, funny, thoughtful, strategic, kind, leader, and gentleman. He was the definition of a servant leader,” adds Pam O’Donnell, IHRSA’s vice president of member experience & development. “It was an honor to work beside him for more than 20 years but, more importantly, I was honored to be his friend. There was always a twinkle in his eye, and his smile was contagious. He will be sorely missed by those who loved him.”

    Our hearts go out to John’s wife, Val, and his entire family.

    The funeral will be held at the Lotus Pavilion at Macquarie Park Crematorium in Australia on Wednesday, March 16, at noon AEDT and will be live streamed. For those in the U.S., the live stream will begin Tuesday, March 15, at 9 p.m. EDT. Please email hamiltonfunerals@gmail.com for the link.

    A tribute is planned for the April 2022 issue of Club Business International, and in Miami Beach during IHRSA’s 41st International Convention & Trade Show.

    Author avatar

    IHRSA Staff @IHRSA

    This article was a team effort by several IHRSA experts.