MURRAY — The nondescript gym tucked in an industrial section of Murray was more than a place where Memorez Rackley worked out now and then.
Since news of the Sandy woman’s shooting death near Brookwood Elementary reached the owners of Pure Workout, the unusually close-knit gym "family" has struggled with shock, sadness and how to best honor the woman they knew and loved.
“She told me a lot that she wouldn’t know what to do without this place,” said Judah Dokos, 42, who owns Pure Workout with his brother Aaron Dokos, 37. “It was very therapeutic for her, especially the time when (her son) Myles was going through everything he went through (medically) a couple of yeas ago.
"Being here was very uplifting for her, and it got her out of a depression a bit.”
Rackley, who’d been training at Pure Workout for the past four years, and her 6-year-old son Jase, were shot and killed by bodybuilder Jeremy Patterson Tuesday after they flagged down a driver for help while walking home from school. Patterson also shot her son Myles Rackley, 11, and the 8-year-old daughter of the woman who stopped to give the family a ride before Patterson shot and killed himself.
In social media posts before the shootings, Patterson threatened Rackley, saying he was in love with her. "My ex thinks she can control even when we aren't together!!!!"
News of Rackley’s death shattered the close-knit collection of trainers and patrons, who refer to themselves as "Pure Workout family." Aaron and Mandie Dokos and Kira and Judah Dokos have owned Pure Workout for 10 years, with the last four housed in an industrial building sandwiched between train tracks and light rail. They’ve worked hard to make it more than a gym, and they said it is because of people like Rackley that they’ve succeeded in creating an environment that feels more familial than commercial.
“She was kind of like an ambassador, if you will, that could help out new people, take them under her wing,” Aaron Dokos said. Added Mandie Dokos: “I just always appreciated her work ethic here at the gym. She and (her best friend) trained together, side by side, putting 100 percent effort into whatever the workout was and just helping others if they needed it. She embraced what we’ve tried to instill in the PW family.”
That atmosphere became a support system for Rackley, the brothers said, as she dealt with Myles' hospitalization because of a brain aneurism in February 2016. In November she began training with Judah Dokos in what he calls the “Iron Strong” program.
“It’s a different level,” he explained. “It’s focused on her specific goals, so there’s more intensity to it. I give them a workout and a diet to follow, and it’s more based around getting that bikini bodybuilding type body.”
He said she was very committed to the program and a few months ago mentioned that she wanted to try and compete in a show.
“She was always dedicated, always ready to go at 5 a.m.,” Judah Dokos said.
Rackley brought her boys often to the Sunday family cardio class, and they said it was a real moment of delight when Myles had recovered enough to attend.
“I’d say this community was extremely important to her,” Aaron Dokos said.
“She had a smile on her face no matter what,” Judah Dokos said. Added his brother, “she had an infections laugh, just fun to be around.”
The brothers hope to honor her with two workouts this weekend — one at 8 a.m. Saturday and one at 9 a.m. Sunday — which are open to the public for a $10 donation that will go directly to the Rackley family.
“This community really helped her to just feel like she was a part of something,” Aaron Dokos said. “A place where she belonged and was accepted and she felt appreciated.”
He said he hopes people will come and celebrate her life, offer her family support and maybe work through their own grief.
“She’ll definitely be sorely missed, 100 percent. She was loved.”