NAPLES, FL -- When Dale Dibble passed away on Dec. 13 at the age of 90, a chapter closed on a large section of the fitness industry’s history. Dibble had been retired from the industry for many years, but prior to that, he was a leader who set an example for other club operators, according to veterans in the industry.

Dibble founded Cedardale Health & Fitness, Haverhill, MA, 45 years ago, and was one of the co-founders of the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association.

“I was in awe of him,” Rick Caro, longtime friend of Dibble and president of consulting company Management Vision, wrote in an e-mail announcing Dibble’s death. “He was so generous in every way. He loved his wife (Olive Mae), loved his friends—and there were many—and enjoyed all he encountered.”

Greg Herbert, senior manager at Cedardale, worked for Dibble for 15 years. He still works there with current owners Ed and Zoe Veasey.

“He was a remarkable man,” Herbert says of Dibble. “He taught me more about business than I learned going through school. He taught me so much about the health club business. I thought the things he taught me were typical, but I found out that they were unique in the club business.”

Dibble is survived by his wife and his son, John. No funeral was held, which didn’t surprise Herbert, who said that Dibble liked to stay in the background.