Muscles of Iron

Strength, Health, and Might

In Memory of Roger Fillary

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On Friday, March 17th [2014], I received an e-mail from Gil Waldron advising me of the sudden passing of his friend, Roger Fillary. Gil and Roger were co-founders and operators of the Physical Culture (PC) history sites, Maxalding, Sandow Plus, and The Golden Age of Iron Men.

Roger was the technology wizard of the duo, and his contribution to the PC world cannot be overestimated. Although Roger did not have a PC background, he was a relentless researcher. As Gil Waldron phrased it, “He was like a dog with a bone, and would not let it go until the problem was solved.”

Photo 1

Facial photo of Roger Fillary

Roger Fillary, October, 1942 – March, 2014. Photograph courtesy of Peter Yates.

Roger strongly believed that collections and information should not be hidden away but freely shared to the benefit of all. To that end, Roger worked tirelessly to ensure everyone had free access to the enormous amount of PC literature that he and Gil had been able to gather.

Roger was born in Oxford, England, and he was trained as an engineer, but later moved into IT. He was totally self-taught, and the quality of the websites he created are a testament to how proficient he had become. Being a long time member of the Music Hall Society and Vaudeville on Film, Roger was able to hone his research skills while also becoming familiar with the world of Old Time Strongmen. One Vaudeville strength entertainer he had the pleasure of interviewing on several occasions was the lovely (bar bending, phone directory ripping) Joan Rhodes.

Roger had recently retired and, with sister Jan, had moved from London to the peace of the Isle of Wight, a move he likened to “being on holiday fifty two weeks a year.”

Besides his sister Jan, Roger is survived by daughter Irene and son John. He is sadly missed by family and friends alike.

Those like myself with an interest in the history and evolution of Physical Culture can do no better than exploring the websites created by Roger and Gil. They provide an enduring legacy. Thank you Roger. Rest in Peace.

Peter Yates,
MOI contributing writer