Friend Remembers Fitness Instructor and Competitive Bodybuilder Struck By Train

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

Gary Hausdorfer says he will never forget a personal fitness trainer who helped him get into shape beginning in 2001. 

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.

According to Jim Amormino, spokesperson for the Orange County Sheriff's Department: "After talking with numerous witnesses who were near the scene, investigators have ruled the incident as a suicide. They say he deliberately stepped in front of the train that was heading Northbound near Dana Point."

Who was Bill?

Hausdorfer, president and CEO of a company that operates toll roads, says Brotherton specialized in weight training and the two men spent quite a bit of time talking with one another each other during their years of working out together. He 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 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, located at 24470 Del Prado in Dana Point. The business was named Dana Point Business of the Month in February, 2010, Hausdorfer said.

That's when Hausdorfer started to train with one of the other trainers at Rado’s Fitness. 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 he said, 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; easy to do," he said. "And, I will always remember his laugh. Of course, his size and strength were obvious to anyone who saw him."

And while Hausdorfer said he will always be grateful for the time he spent with Brotherton, he added: "I truly want people to understand that our community lost a very nice person and a little about his life." 

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-free 24-hour hotlines listed.

Suicide Prevention Resource Center
American Association of Suicidology
Mental Health America 

Emergency Psychiatric Evaluation in Orange County: 866-830-6011 or 714-834-6900

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

Youth Crisis Hotline: 800-448-4663

Shirley October 16, 2012 at 12:29 AM
It's nice when friends are able to speak up when something like this has happened. However with that said suicide is a very selfish thing, what could have driven Bill to do this? It seems things were going well for him. I think if more people would speak up all ok this would be better understood.
Whophantom October 17, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Very well said Gary. I think you said it all about Bill.
Francine Kirouac October 18, 2012 at 06:13 PM
For years I trained with kristy at the sweatshop doing Spin and Pilates but I needed more and that's when I discovered Headlands gym and began training with Big Bill. Over time it became apparent to me that Kristy and Bill had so much in common they should meet. It has always given me great pleasure knowing that I was responsible for bringing them together. I was shocked to hear Bill had died so tragically and my heart goes out to kristy who must be devastated. Bill was a highly intelligent yet humble individual with a lot of vision. He was friendly and knew no strangers. It saddens me that he was in so much pain and I hope that he is at peace. His life improved mine and I am a better person for having known him. Francine
Jill Mazur October 26, 2012 at 03:34 AM
I am so sad to hear about Bill's passing. I will always have the image of this huge guy on a spin bike taking Kristi's spin class. He was so kind and will be missed by so many. Jill
sharm cressey October 29, 2012 at 04:11 AM
I met Bill when he first arrived from Texas. We were never girlfriend boyfriend just good friends. We would go on walks three times a week. I remember before the St. Regis Gold course was complete they had security on the premises it was dark at night and we both got lost on our walk on the golf course that night we were lucky the security guard did not aim and fire. It was so funny and we laughed so hard about this particular event. Yes, Bill was a big guy and I was just a little thing also into body building at the time. When we would do our walks on the beach people would stare probably thinking that I never eat and Bill spends his time in the gym 24 hours a day. Bill was breaking up from a lady in texas he had been seeing for sometime and there were complications with the relationship but I know that Bill was struggling and hurt because he wanted this person to be with him so much it could of been his love of his life at that time. Bill kept his emotions to himself never ever showing anger or upset. Bill was a sweet heart and always will be in my heart. Rest well my friend I understand your challenges that you overcome in life I wish you had called me. Bill you are home now. God Bless


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