Memorial ride, public service for Don Tilley scheduled for Sunday September 7th

SUNDAY SEP 7th MEMORIAL RIDE AND SERVICE IN HONOR OF DON TILLEY. Please join us as we honor our beloved Don Tilley. Bikes leave at 3:30 pm from Tilley Harley-Davidson of Salisbury. Bikes leave at 5:00pm from Tilley Harley-Davidson of Statesville. Police escorted ride to Statesville High School. Memorial Service is at 6:30pm. Call: 704-872-3883 for more information.Don_Tilly_MR

A memorial motorcycle ride will be held early Sunday evening in Statesville for Don Tilley, who was killed in a cycle accident last Friday on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville.

Tilley, 78, was the popular owner of the Tilley Harley-Davidson dealerships in Statesville and Salisbury.

Tilley’s wife, Robinette, was critically injured in the same motorcycle crash that killed her husband. She has undergone several surgeries and remains hospitalized in Asheville.

“She has been strong throughout all of this,” said Tracy Edwards, general manager of the Salisbury dealership and a longtime employee and friend of the couple. “She’s a tough lady who loves her family and her business.”

If weather permits, the Sunday memorial service will be held outside in the high school stadium. Otherwise, it will be in the school auditorium.

Speakers at the service are expected to include well-known NASCAR drivers Kyle Petty and Donnie Allison. Mike Helton, president of NASCAR, also will say a few words.

Much of Tilley’s personal and business history is intertwined with stock car and motorcycle racing and in helping charities.

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Tilley with Kyle Petty at Victory Junction

He co founded Kyle Petty charity ride across America, which he had participated in the past 20 years. That ride benefits the Victory Junction Gang Camp for children with chronic illnesses.

The Tilley Harley-Davidson stores will be closed all day Monday, when an 11 a.m. Mass will be held for Tilley at Saint Philip the Apostle Catholic Church for family and close friends. A graveside service also will be held later at Iredell Memorial Gardens Mausoleum.

Edwards said Salisbury’s Tilley Harley-Davidson will close at 3 p.m. Sunday, and any motorcycle riders from here who want to participate in the memorial ride in Statesville will be setting out from the dealership on Bendix Drive at 3:30 p.m.

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Don Tilley & wife, Robinette

Those who own Harley-Davidson motorcycles would tell you they are a breed apart.

“Buying a Harley is like joining a family,” said one visitor at Tilley Harley-Davidson in Statesville. “And this is like losing a kind father figure.”

That father figure, of course, is Harley legend and Statesville native Don Tilley, who was killed Friday night when he lost control of his motorcycle on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville.

His wife, Robinette, was critically injured in the accident and is being treated at an Asheville hospital where family and close friends have gathered to hold vigil.

Roger and Sheryl Piggot were also at Tilley on Labor Day. They were on a ride from their hometown of Toronto, Canada when they heard the news of the wreck.

The couple said the Tilleys are well known and greatly respected in the Harley community.

“No one I have ever met has a more giving heart than Robinette,” said Sheryl Piggot. “They both are just really wonderful people,” added her husband.

The Piggots have been working on a television project called “America Riding,” of which the Tilleys have been sponsors.

Roger Piggot said plans that originally included making the Tilleys and their contribution to motorcycling a portion of one of the episodes have been changed so that the entire show will be about them and their stores: both in Statesville and Salisbury.

“The stores and the Tilleys have been instrumental in so much that we think it’s the right thing to do,” Piggot said.

Donna Henderson worked for the Tilleys for years from her early 20s into her 40s and said that kind of familial relationship was true among employees.

“Both Don and Robinette were wonderful, wonderful people,” Henderson who moved to Myrtle Beach a decade ago and said she was shocked to hear the news of the Tilleys’ accident. “Anything they could do for you, they did it. And when customers came in, it was like they had known them their whole lives. They were just really great, nice people.”

Family and friends are hosting a “Memorial Ride and Service in Honor of Don Tilley” on Sunday.

Those who wish take part may gather at either of the stores. In Statesville. “kick stands up” at 5 p.m., and in Salisbury an hour earlier.

Riders will have police escort from the stores to Statesville High School, where a service will be held at 6:30 p.m.

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Obituary

William Donald ‘Don’ Tilley

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STATESVILLE – William Donald “Don” Tilley, of Statesville died Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, while doing what he enjoyed the most … riding his Harley, with the one he loved the most, his wife Robinette.

He was born Jan. 19, 1936, in the home of his parents, William Marion Tilley and Leona Ruth Perry Tilley, who preceded him in death.

Being born to a humble beginning never stopped Don from seeing a life to live and live it to the fullest.

Faithful-Honest-Charitable-Friendly-Dedicated with a huge heart toward any who were less fortunate, Don lived his life full out!

He married the love of his life Robinette Clark Tilley on July 23, 1961, who survives him, along with their three children, Donna Tilley, Denise LeVan (Terry), Derek Tilley; and five grandchildren, Cortney Toothaker (Michael), Kyle Pierce, Chase LeVan, Chance LeVan, and Chandler LeVan; and one great-grandchild due in September (Cortney’s child).

Don knew early on that his love of speed, cars, motorcycles, racing, and engineering would always be a part of his life and that it was! In 1972 Don and Robinette opened up Tilley Harley Davidson and little did he know the ripple effect that he would have in the life of so many. Don knew the many facets of the industry and how they could affect other people. Whether he was speaking to a first-time rider or a seasoned motorcycle enthusiast, Don could truly relate to any and all.

Don was always the visionary for the business. He and Robinette worked so closely to keep Tilley Harley Davidson in the forefront of the community, and in 1999 they expanded to Salisbury where their second dealership is located.

Don Tilley was truly a legend in the eyes of so many. So many people confidently called him friend. Don’s ability to share his many gifts and talents is what makes him a true legend.

Don used his great accomplishments to affect the lives of others. He had great passion for charity: proudly co-founding the Kyle Petty charity ride across America, which he had participated in for the last 20 years; supporting Victory Junction Gang Camp (which helps children with chronic medical conditions); Rolling Thunder (a veteran support nonprofit group); Barium Springs Home for Children; Fallen Firefighters; Tribute to the Troops; and the schools anti-drug program D.A.R.E. These are just a few on the list of many.

Don faithfully attended his church, Saint Philips The Apostle Catholic Church along with his family. Don was always in attendance with his fellow classmates of Statesville High School ’54 as they would gather for a meal once a month.

Don and Robinette were honored last week in Nashville, Tenn., at the International Harley Davidson Summer Dealer meeting, where they received the prestigious Gold Bar and Shield Award which was given by Harley Davidson Motor Company. This award is one among so many the family has been honored with. Whether it was a small local gathering or a large event, Don would treat any gathering with the same enthusiasm that was so contagious to all who were around.

The heritage this man Don Tilley leaves behind will be cherished by his family and friends for many generations to come.

Don is also survived by his sister, Rachel Kale (Dan); a brother, Richard Tilley; nine nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his siblings, Janie Tilley, Janice Beeson (Joe), Raymond Tilley (Diane), and Arnold Tilley (Gail).

Service and Memorial Ride: A Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, Sept. 7 at Statesville High School Stadium starting at 6:30 p.m. A Memorial ride will leave from Tilley Harley Davidson at 5 p.m. Sunday to ride from the Dealership, on to Gardner Bagnal Boulevard, on to North Center Street, then to the Statesville High School Stadium.

Mass: On Monday Sept. 8 at 11 a.m., a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Saint Philip The Apostle Catholic Church for family and close friends. Following the service there will be a grave side service at Iredell Memorial Gardens Mausoleum. A police escort will allow riders to assemble and ride from the church to the burial site.

Memorials: In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Victory Junction Gang Camp, in honor of Don Tilley.

Online condolences can be made to the family at http://www.nicholsonfunerals.com/obituaries and Nicholson Funeral Home is serving the needs of the Tilley family.
– See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/salisburypost/obituary.aspx?n=william-don-tilley&pid=172339229#sthash.eumg9I4i.dpuf

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TilleyHarleyDavidson

Official Website: http://www.tilleyhd.com/

Don Tilley’s Racing Heritagehttp://www.tilleyhd.com/miscpage_008.asp

Cycle News: http://www.cyclenews.com/

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