By Mario Strong

Patrick DeLuca was huge and had enormous muscular power with a matching symmetrical frame. He was a former Mr. Florida winner that trained heavy. It made you wonder how the barbells he lifted did not snap from the stress he placed on them. Occasionally, I had the pleasure of training with Patrick. Our workouts together were always competitive. Between the two of us, we dared not show any limits and lifted steel we never thought possible. Patrick motivated newbie muscle-builders to higher levels. He was well-liked by everybody that knew him and seemed invincible.

One day in April of 1992, while training alone at The Palms, I got the shocking news that Patrick DeLuca was killed in a boating accident in Florida. He was only in his early thirties and had a long, bright future ahead of him. It was hard to phantom how such a powerhouse of energy and life could no longer be with us because of an accident. Something wasn’t right. If Patrick was vulnerable, then we all were. However, not even death could end Patrick’s popularity, as hundreds of people came to his wake to mourn for him and his family. The funeral home had opened three rooms to accommodate those paying their respects to Patrick and his family and it was not enough space. The lines of mourners stretched out of the funeral home and into the street. While kneeling by his casket, I couldn’t help but notice that Patrick, in his unfortunate present state, still looked bigger and better than everyone else in the room. Knowing Patrick the way I did, I just laughed to myself because I knew that he wouldn’t have had it any other way. He always had to be the best!