Beloved motorcycle shop owner Don Tilley killed in crash

by: Blake Hanson Updated:

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STATESVILLE - Flowers and balloons lined the floor at the Tilley Harley Davidson store Sunday, in honor of its founder and owner who died in a motorcycle accident.

Don Tilley, 78, died Friday following a crash on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville. His wife, Robinette, was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

U.S. Service rangers said the cause is under investigation but they don't think weather or road condition were factors.

Don and Robinette opened their first store in 1972. At the time it was just a humble business in Statesville.

They later expanded and opened their first satellite store in Salisbury in 1999.

In addition to their booming business, the Tilley's earned a reputation for helping sponsor charity events to help people in need, including the Victory Junction Gang. The organization helps provide camping experiences to kids who have serious illnesses.

"He's a very charitable person," said Joe Saleem, a patron who knew Tilley. "Always willing to give what he's got to someone else but very quiet. I never would have guessed he's accomplished as much as he has."

In honor of the life of Don Tilley, the Tilley family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, all memorials be sent as donations to Victory Junction Gang Camp at 4500 Adam's Way, Randleman, NC 27317 or online at VictoryJunction.org.