Friend Remembers Bodybuilder Hit by Train

Gary Hausdorfer trained with Bill Brotherton, 54, a fitness expert who deliberately stepped in front of a Metrolink train Wednesday evening.

Gary Hausdorfer will never forget Bill Brotherton, a personal fitness trainer who helped him get into shape, beginning in 2001. 

Brotherton specialized in weight training and the two men spent quite a bit of time talking during their years of working out together, said Hausdorfer, president and CEO of a company that operates toll roads.

Now Brotherton is gone.

Authorities say by all indications and witness accounts, Brotherton, 54, of Capistrano Beach stepped in front of a Metrolink train Wednesday evening.

The death occurred about halfway between the San Clemente Metrolink station and the San Juan Capistrano Depot, next to the campground at Doheny State Beach at 5:10 p.m., authorities said.

"After talking with numerous witnesses near the scene, investigators have ruled the incident as a suicide," said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Who was Bill?

Hausdorfer said he became one of Brotherton's first clients at Headlands Health and Fitness, located at the corner of Blue Lantern and Del Prado in Dana Point.

“Over the years, we discussed a variety of topics, ranging from health and fitness, diet, politics, sports, business and life in general," Hausdorfer said. "He was very well-informed and was always current on the news of the day. He taught me a lot about physical fitness and diet. He is responsible for helping me create a stronger, healthier body."

Brotherton was "a great teacher, very patient and helpful," he added.

"We always discussed the importance of a healthy body and all aspects of anti- aging and longevity," Hausdorfer said.

Brotherton was married to Kristi Hugstad Brotherton, who was also in the fitness business.


Brotherton, Hausdorfer said, was also an elite bodybuilder.

"Although he told me he was rather small when he was younger, he later became a competitive bodybuilder," he said. "When he retired from competition, he started work as a personal trainer and worked in several fitness clubs before opening Headlands and then, later, Pulse Fitness."

He and Kristi sold Pulse Fitness about two years ago, and it is now called Rado’s Fitness, at 24470 Del Prado in Dana Point. 

That's when Hausdorfer started to train with one of the other trainers at Rado’s. Then, about two months ago, he got a text from Bill saying he had moved back to Dana Point and asked if he would like to start training with him again, he said.  

"Although I would have liked to resume training with him, I felt that would be unfair to my current trainer and declined," Hausdorfer said. "We shared a couple of texts after that, but I had not spoken to him recently. So, I do not personally know how he was doing emotionally prior to Wednesday. I was told he was training in another gym in Dana Point." 

A Jokester

Hausdorfer says Brotherton was also someone who was funny, and who loved to share jokes.

"He never seemed in a bad mood," he said. "Although our training sessions were challenging for me, I always looked forward to our workouts. He was a big guy in great shape but very kind and gentle."  

The men started out as client-trainer and then became friends in the training environment.

"You cannot spend two-three hours a week with someone over a period of 10 to 11 years without becoming friendly," he said.

He said he liked and respected Brotherton, who always challenged him to improve. 

"He never let me be lazy. He was very disciplined in helping his clients and continuing his own personal training," Hausdorfer said.

What is the one thing he will remember most? 

"I will always remember him calling my last name when I walked into the gym. He loved to mispronounce it," he said. "And I will always remember his laugh. Of course, his size and strength were obvious to anyone who saw him."

Hausdorfer said he was not aware of any funeral or memorial arrangements at the time of this post.

Suicide Prevention

Suicidal thoughts and feelings should always be taken seriously, experts say. If you believe you're at risk for ending your life, call 911 or visit the nearest hospital emergency room for an evaluation. You can also click one of the links below or call one of the toll-fre,e 24-hour hotlines listed.

Suicide Prevention Resource Center
American Association of Suicidology
Mental Health America 

Emergency Psychiatric Evaluation in Orange County: 866-830-6011 or714-834-6900

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

Youth Crisis Hotline: 800-448-4663

Deborah November 14, 2012 at 07:49 AM
This has devested me I don't understand why he did this? I saw him that day at Bank of America. I'm a hair dresser and I was going into Malys to but product but I was so happy when I saw bill it had been a few months at the most so I didn't go into Malys I jumped into my car with my little dog. Button. I was so excited to see him when I pulled up in front of him he was speaking to someone who he knew a male. I jumped out of my car with my desest sisters dog and rollers in my hair. He always called me by last name Preble. But not this time I gave him a huge hug and a kiss on the cheek and said how r you? I said ha ha do you want this dog? And he said no where did you get that dog? And I said She was my sisters dog, Button. And I'm not a dog person I asked him if he wanted Button he said no no. He didn't look well at all he had lost alot of weight and told me personal things that had failed in his life. I take blame because I was in such a god dam hurry to get to work and I knew there was something devesyating wrong. I knew it in my heart I loved him I asked him to come see my mom and I at my shop that day. It's pretty much killing me and I no it's not about me but he was my dearest friend I loved him and I always will. Bills death has taken a sparke out of my heart forever. I will never be the same. May God bless this kind man.
Linda Fleming November 30, 2012 at 09:36 AM
I was married to Bill for 10 years. He was such a kind, sweet, soul and even though things did not work out for us, I had always hoped he had found happiness and peace. I saw him last on his 50th birthday. Reading about his tragic, senseless death breaks my heart. I wish he had found what he was looking for. He was very smart and he could be so funny. Bill, please rest in peace and I pray you are in the arms of our Lord.


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