By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
Founder and trainer of Wild Basin Fitness, Kirk Leavell of Steiner Ranch, has passed away. He leaves behind his wife Julie and two children, Karsen and Kash.
“This family is suffering a devastating loss. Kirk and Julie changed the lives of so many in our neighborhood. Let us all be a blessing to them as they have been to us,” the Wild Basin Facebook page states. “We will all miss Kirk. That smile and his encouragement were legendary.”
Kirk’s passion was family and fitness.
He and Julie founded Wild Basin Westlake in 1996. Then a decade later in 2006 they opened Wild Basin Steiner Ranch near the front of the community.
A GoFundMe fundraiser has been organized —“Help a Steiner family and local business owner” — to help Julie, Karsen and Kash with any short term needs with funeral expenses and other financial burdens that they will encounter in the coming months, the GoFundMe states.
“Like many small companies, the pandemic has significantly impacted their business as we all hope to return to normal,” said Paul Shaffer, the GoFundMe organizer. “Any amount is deeply appreciated to help this family in need.”
Wild Basin Fitness was Kirk’s dream come true. He had a love of sports and competition all of his life and grew-up participating in every athletic event he could manage. Kirk succeeded in five different sports in high school and went on to play baseball and win a national championship in track and field at the collegiate level.
Kirk majored in kinesiology at Blinn College and Sam Houston State University. He thought the combination of an education and a lifetime of personal experience allowed him to reach a professional level of understanding of how exercise and healthy eating can positively affect the body.
Kirk’s dream of owning his own fitness facility came true because his clients had such remarkable success in obtaining their goals under his direction, according to the Wild Basin website.
The family will lay him to rest privately and are planning a celebration of his life with an open house Oct. 11th from 2-4pm at Wild Basin Fitness in Steiner Ranch.
Many friends and family posted positive memories about Kirk and condolences to the family on Facebook. The following is a sample of what has been posted.
You were the first friend I made after moving to Austin. Your genuine smile and friendly jabs we’re just what I needed to feel at ‘home’. You taught me how to correctly pronounce Manchaca and Buda. You introduced me to the best thing ever… breakfast tacos! You took me golfing and even offered to come by my house with a ladder to help me clean the gutters. I could go on and on about what a great guy you are and the positive influences you so obviously had on this community, but I know in your humbleness that you would want me to shut up now! To me, you’re not gone… I will see you waving at me every morning when I walk through the gym doors… I will think of you everyday as I drive past the golf course… and I will smile every time I have a breakfast taco. I know the next time we meet you will have scoped out all the best food trucks for me. Until then, my good friend…
Heartbroken. Kirk’s life’s work was to make people feel better and be better. He will be missed by so many.
My heart just hurts. I considered Kirk not only a trainer but a friend! He and Julie created not only their own family but also a special WBF family. He will be missed and prayers for healing go out to Julie, Karsen, and Kash during this very difficult time.
Kirk and I met 31 yrs ago. He was my best friend, best man, workout partner, fishing partner, hunting partner, golfing buddy. We spent many hours playing golf and fishing without talking and that was ok because we understood each other. Heartbroken that he is no longer with us.
My heart aches for all of the Wild Basin community… Kirk was a huge part of our lives for over 20yrs and his passing will leave a hole that can only be filled with the memories of the good times we shared.
I always enjoyed joking with Kirk and trying to squirm out of the last few reps but he always pushed me to be better.
We are absolutely heartbroken to see this. Praying for His supernatural strength and peace that surpasses all understanding. I’m SO incredibly sorry. It is indeed a tremendous loss to our community.
My heart hurts that you are truly gone. Everyday you would give me the head nod to let me know you were paying attention to my just showing up. Who will tell me that I’m doing it all wrong and give me unwanted advice. I will miss you my friend.
So sad to hear this news. Kirk was such a friendly, energetic and inspiring person during my days at WBF. Prayers to the entire Leavell family for peace during this incredibly difficult time.
Kirk was a friend, a partner, and a mentor. Rest In Peace.