Memorial ride, public service for Tilley scheduled for Sunday
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.
The memorial ride will leave his Statesville store at 5 p.m. Sunday and follow Gardner Bagnal Boulevard and North Center Street to Statesville High School, where a memorial service will begin at 6:30 p.m.
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.
He cofounded Petty’s 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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