A year before he died, Pat Conroy opened a fitness studio

Tributes are flooding social media following news that beloved, iconic author Pat Conroy has died, none more heartfelt than one from  Mina Truong. A year before he died, Conroy and Mina opened a health fitness studio together in Port Royal, S.C. The story is a touching one.

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Mina Truong posted this photo of her friend and business partner Pat Conroy on Feb. 15, after he revealed his pancreatic cancer diagnosis. "He will fight through this!!" she posted.

On Saturday morning a sorrowful Truong shared a post, originally penned when the studio opened last year. Here are excerpts:

"I moved to the United States 9 years ago and have always had a dream to be a personal trainer. I was hired by the YMCA and while I was working there, my dream to become a personal trainer came true! I became certified in 2007!! It was difficult, learning a new language made my challenges even harder, but I did it!! I succeeded!!!

While at the Y, I noticed this gentle man, who was so very tall, and very friendly to everyone. Everyone always wanted to talk to him and he never turned anyone away who wanted to talk. I had no idea who he was! One day he asked me if I had any openings because he would like to hire me as his personal trainer. Of course I said yes, and I still did not know he was a well respected, best-selling author. I just knew him as my client, Mr. Pat. My other clients were so interested in Mr. Pat and so surprised I did not know about Mr. Pat....but at first, I had no idea why. My only goal was to help him get fit!and I still did not know he was famous!

He is a very humble and generous man. He does everything I tell him too! Sometimes I have to tell him “Mr. Pat, let’s get back to work!!!  He always puts the needs of others before himself. He never complains and is just the nicest man I have ever met!"

Following a lunch meeting with Conroy and a few others, the studio was launched, she added.

"It is warm and loving because it was built with love by all of the people who I love. Every floor tile, every picture, every piece of equipment, all built with love."

She also posted this video of Conroy, happily pedaling away a few months ago:

"He was such a generous and wonderful person," Mina Truong posted of her friend and business partner Pat Conroy, seen here at the Ming and Conroy Fitness Studio in Port Royal, S.C.

About the Author

Jennifer Brett
Jennifer Brett
Jennifer Brett is a multiplatform journalist and digital coach. She writes The Buzz blog for accessAtlanta.com.