Sarah Giosi knew her husband, Jeff, had built a community and touched thousands of lives, but she’s still “shocked” and “dumbfounded” by the people she has heard from since Saturday morning.
That’s when Jeff Giosi, CrossFit Morgantown owner, died unexpectedly at the gym he and Sarah owned. He was 40.
“I always knew my husband was the best and had a lot of impact, but I didn’t even know some of the stuff he had done for people and how he had touched so many lives,” Sarah said Tuesday evening.
She has heard from people across the country and around the world. Crossfit headquarters also reached out to the family.
“I think it speaks to him and just how he worked with people and touched people,” she said. “Community is what mattered to him and clearly he created a community.”
Sarah is known in the area, too. She is a radio personality on both WKKW and WAJR.
Jeff Giosi was originally from New York, but Sarah said he had lived in Morgantown longer than he did New York.
She said he no longer thought of New York as home, but would tell people he was from Morgantown, W.Va., and was a true Mountaineer.
Giosi had been a West Virginia University athlete and later was a strength and conditioning coach there. Sarah said he was also a Young Life and Fellowship of Christian Athletes leader in the area.
Sarah explained the details of Jeff Giosi’s passing in a 20-minute live video hosted on the CrossFit Morgantown Facebook page Sunday.
Sarah said made the video to help answer questions Jeff’s passing and the future of the gym, which is still open.
“There’s a lot of questions, and some things I’ll never be able to answer for you. I cannot answer a ‘why’ question for you. But the science behind ‘what,’ I can help to give,” she said.
Sarah said her husband had gone to the gym Saturday, and after picking up what she described as a “great” deadlift, collapsed.
“They are doing an autopsy, so we will have even more specific evidence and clarity on this, but there is an almost 100% consensus that this was a genetic aortic aneurysm. This runs in Jeff’s family, on his mother’s side. It’s particularly men that have this. … We have always known this was a possibility, we’ve always known,” she said in the video.
She expressed gratitude for those who immediately rushed to her husband’s aid, though she recognized there was nothing that could have been done to save him.
“Sometimes we idolized Jeff. He was just such a superhero that we often put him on a pedestal, and forgot that Jeff was human. He was a beautifully imperfect human, and … the purpose of life is that it ends,” she said.
A GoFundMe fundraising campaign was organized by family friend Kristen Miller to support the Giosi family and assist in covering memorial and funeral expenses.
With 895 donors, nearly 4,500 shares to social media and 899 followers, the campaign had received $113,876 of its $200,000 goal by Tuesday afternoon.
Sarah said she is trying to keep up with all the social media messages, text messages and phone calls she’s been getting and hasn’t had the time to look at the GoFundMe account, but her brother read her some names of donors and she knows the amount has surpassed $100,000.
“It’s really incredible,” she said. “I think for me it speaks to Jeff and the community he built but also to our community as a whole. Jeff’s community far exceeds West Virginia, but there’s something about home and West Virginia and the people. They are just rallying to make sure we are being taken care of and I don’t have words to say what a blessing and what a relief it’s been. I can’t say how much it means. I just don’t have the words.”
Sarah and Jeff have two sons, Arlen, 3, and Mackie, 1. She is compiling all messages she is receiving so they will have a book from which they can learn more about their daddy when they are older.
Because of COVID restrictions, Sarah said a private family funeral will be planned. However, she wants to have a larger public memorial around Jeff’s birthday, April 12.
To donate to the Jeff Giosi Memorial Fund, go to www.gofundme.com/f/jeff-giosi-memorial-fund.