Ride in Peace: Services, memorial ride set for Don Tilley

Publish Date: 
Sep 2, 2014
By Mary Green Slepicka

STATESVILLE, N.C. - A memorial ride and services have been set for Don Tilley, 78, dealer principal of Tilley Harley-Davidson, who died in a motorcycle crash Aug. 29.

Bikes will leave Tilley of Salisbury at 4 p.m. Sept. 7, and an hour later from Tilley of Statesville, for a police-escorted ride to Statesville High School for a memorial service at 6:30 p.m., according to the Tilley website.

Tilley dealers will be closed Monday for a private funeral service at 11 a.m. in St. Philip Apostle Church in Statesville, followed by a public ride from the church to the gravesite at Iredell Memorial Gardens.

Tilley's motorcycle crashed on mile marker 394 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. His wife, Robinette, was injured in the crash and on Saturday was listed in critical condition at Memorial Mission Hospital in Asheville, according to police reports.

"Don was the epitome of what a dealer ought to be. We have lost a real giant." 

 Bob Althoff, A.D. Farrow Harley-Davidson

Tilley started the dealership in 1972. "Don was the epitome of what a dealer ought to be," said Bob Althoff, owner of A.D. Farrow Co. Harley-Davidson group, who had just talked with Tilley at this past week's Harley-Davidson dealer meeting in Nashville, Tenn. 

"He was unassuming, and a friend to so many people. So much humility, yet so many accomplishments. There will never be another like Don Tilley. We have lost a real giant," Althoff said.

"We ask everyone to keep the entire Tilley family in their thoughts and prayers," the dealership posted on its website. "He will be missed by all."

'Superman' rode a Harley - Don Tilley tribute (External Link)

Tilley's death sent shockwaves not only through the motorcycle dealer fraternity but also through NASCAR community. "God speed @don_tilley," wrote Kyle Petty on Twitter. "Don taught me how to ride long distance, love Harleys & most importantly how to be a friend."

Tilley was instrumental in bringing Harley to the forefront of AMA Pro Racing. To learn more about his accomplishments, visit this page.