Passing Of Motorcycle Hall Of Famer Bob Illingworth

illingworthbobLegendary motorcycle advocate Bob Illingworth left us this morning at 9.30 am.
Bob began his love affair with motorcycling in the late 60’s. While he achieved some recognition as a racer and motorcycle shop owner, his charismatic presence and passion for justice would take him down a path that he had never predicted. In 1970 when the federal government originally blackmailed states into adopting helmet laws, Bob hit the ground running.

He was instrumental in forming the Minnesota Motorcycle Riders Association (MMRA), an organization that he would successfully guide for over 30 years.

Bob’s gift was communication, enabling him to defeat literally every piece of anti-motorcycle legislation introduced during his tenure with the MMRA. Additionally, Bob established the Motorcycle Safety Advisory Committee responsible for developing a motorcycle safety program and finding its funding source. He also acted as an advisor to several Minnesota governors on motorcycling issues. 
Bob’s natural leadership abilities and lobbying skills helped grass roots organizations successfully navigate through the treacherous halls of capitols all over the United States. His passion and tireless efforts have forever changed motorcycling. Bob was honored with the first Founders Award issued by the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame in recognition of his efforts in bringing the museum to life.

Bob was a long time Hamster. During the last Sturgis Rally Bob Illingworth was honored with a Hamsters USA Lifetime Achievement Award.  In addition, he also received the Annual Chrome Heart Award from Children’s Care Hospital. This award recognizes an individual in the motorcycle world whose philanthropic support and civic duty represents everything positive in the motorcycle industry.

My condolences to Colleen, all his family & Hamster friends.

71 Responses to “Passing Of Motorcycle Hall Of Famer Bob Illingworth”

  1. 1 Marilyn Stemp Mar 24th, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Bob worked tirelessly and accomplished so much, seldom taking credit and remaining fired up about the challenges that still face motorcycle riders. With his long string of successes and the respect people had for him, I don’t know a single person who could tell Bob no when he asked for their help. His passing leaves big shoes to fill and he will be missed so much. God speed, Bob and my sympathy to his family.

  2. 2 Robert Zeenberg Mar 24th, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    He is irreplaceable.

  3. 3 Russ Petrone Mar 24th, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    To say that I am deeply saddened at the passing of “A Friend” like Bob, is an understatement. I met and spent time with Bob & Colleen a number of years ago at the Wine Run in Paso…… you’d think he/they knew me all of their life. What a beautiful person he was and Colleen is, he will be sorely missed, our loss is Hamster Heaven’s gain. My condolences and prayers are with you and the rest of Bob’s family, Colleen …… God Bless You.

  4. 4 Kenny Price Mar 24th, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    I just called Bob a week or so ago and he was still optomistic he had much more time. I asked him how he felt and as always he said ok but this time he said he was weak. Bob’s fight for the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum by getting the town to give the old post office for the location was my first view of his ability to fight for a cause for everyone, not for himself. Bob is a great inspiration for me and will continue to be. Love ya Bob and ride on brother,
    Kenny Price
    Samson Exhaust

  5. 5 Scott Webster Mar 24th, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    This truly is sad news a great man with a loving heart has passed, if you knew Bob you were fortunate to have known a true wonderful soul. Bob was a gentleman, one for me to look up to in life and consider a hero and role model yet he never considered himself in this way. The work and legacy of his charity towards helping children is more then any individual could even fathom and yet he is now gone.

    It will take many to do the job of one in an attempt to follow this man, and we really never will.

    God bless Bob, this is a sad day and the loss of one of the great ones.

  6. 6 roger schieman Mar 25th, 2009 at 2:21 am

    Bob was a man who always looked out for the motorcycling community,I first met Bob when we started the Sturgis motorcycle musuem and hall of fame.He was a tireless worker he will be rewarded in heaven for all he has done. We will miss him dearly.

  7. 7 Yale Mar 25th, 2009 at 7:30 am

    What a sad day in the motorcycle world. We have lost a true pioneer. Bob has touched so many lives in so many ways. The beautiful thing his legacy will continue, by the work he has done.
    My blessings to all Bob’s family and friends.
    Bob, thanks for all you have done. Say hello to the boys in Hamster Heaven

  8. 8 Paul Bisson Mar 25th, 2009 at 7:42 am

    Bob was a very gifted individual. He also had an tremendous, cotagious passion. It is quite obvious to those that knew him, that when you combine his passion and his many gifts, there weren’t many obstacles that he couldn’t overcome.

    A person’s life is not only measured by how you are valued by your family and friends but also by what your adversaries may think of you. Although I never was on the opposing team, I venture that his opponents had a great deal of respect for this man who truly believed in what he was proposing.

    My sincerest condolences to Colleen and their family.

  9. 9 Mike Marquart Mar 25th, 2009 at 8:01 am

    Growing up and riding in Minnesota I was lucky to meet Bob long ago. Riders all over the country owe him a great deal of gratitude for his efforts on motorcyclists rights.

    To say he will be missed is a huge understatement. He was one of those people that would do anything for anybody. He worked on behalf of those in need and was very good at inspiring others to multiply his efforts. Truly one of the very best our community had to offer.

    I will miss my friend and brother-it is time now for you to enjoy the ride.

  10. 10 Larry Broomfield Mar 25th, 2009 at 8:10 am

    Those who live no more, the ones we loved and cared about, will remain in our thoughts and our hearts. Bob will be remembered forever. He accomplished much and left us a better place.

  11. 11 Randee Peterson Mar 25th, 2009 at 8:59 am

    I’m glad Bob is no longer in pain. We have lost a great man, a good friend and a very effective motorcyclist’s rights advocate. Ride free Bob, you will be missed by many. The world is better because you were here.

  12. 12 Jeff Nicklus Mar 25th, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Bob was a dear friend and a wonderful human being. Even though Bob struggled with his cancer for many years he never allowed his illness to effect his love of doing for others. Bob, the world is a better place due to your brief existence. I shall miss you deeply.

    My condolences to Colleen, his family and all his friends

    Over & Out,


  13. 13 Chuck Cain Mar 25th, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Bob was the reason that we in MN do not have bad laws about rideing a moter cycle. we all will miss him.

  14. 14 Lon Nordbye - Legendary Buffalo Chip Mar 25th, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Bob you are irreplaceable. Your positive impact in our lives is immeasurable. Thanks for all you did for Sturgis, for motorcycling and always being there to help people who shared in your passion. You always gave far more than you ever received and for that you will be missed, but never forgotten.

  15. 15 Patty Mesenbrink, Minneapolis (MNSportie) Mar 25th, 2009 at 9:29 am

    It’s hard to put into words what Bob Illingworth means to me. I was blessed to be able to call him one of my dear friends for 26 years. He was not only a friend, but a teacher and mentor. He taught me many things over the years and for that I am grateful. Bob did so much for so many people. His legacy will be all he did for the motorcycle community and for the kids. He was a huge supporter for Children’s Care and tirelessly worked to make their lives fuller. I will miss his sometimes 8 times a day phone calls. As I told him a couple of weeks ago, when I had breakfast with Bob and Colleen, you’ll never be gone, because when I need a nudge or something isn’t going as “planned,” my phone will ring and no one will be there, but I know it will be you. We had a good laugh on that one. Bob lived his life till then end, even when he grew tired and weak with Colleen by his side. His last words to me last week were “see ya down the road.” I will cherish the memories. My prayers are with Colleen and Bob’s family and all friends. God speed my friend… see ya down the road.

  16. 16 Floyd and Joyce Cork Mar 25th, 2009 at 9:31 am

    We first met Bob (and Colleen) in Paradise RV Resort , Arizona, where they, like us, were spending the winter. Colleen was very outgoing, whereas Bob remained very quiet. There was something about Bob that drew you to him ,however, and we did not let his being quiet effect us in any way. In fact, we made an extra effort to draw him out to us. There is where our story begins, more than 2 years ago and we have been blessed by the friendship that developed. We have prayed for both Colleen and Bob every morning for those 2 years and talked to them frequently.

    “There are those who come into our lives, and pass through and then there are those that leave their footprints on your heart, never leaving us the same again.”
    Thank you Bob for your unconditional friendship, and God bless you Colleen as you continue on
    on lifes journey.

  17. 17 Lee Wimmer Mar 25th, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Bob was so courageous in his battle with cancer, he gave us all inspiration to deal with what life gives you. So many times we would talk and it was hard to believe what he was dealing with. As most of you know he was the greatest supporter of the children’s hospital and did a wonderful job of fundraising. In fact just last week he sent me a package of raffle tickets for the motorcycle drawing. I can’t believe he has passed. He was a great inspiration and a wonderful friend. It’s hard to express the void in my heart. My deepest condolences to the family. I know the Hamsters will continue the fine work that Bob was so instrumental in. God Speed my friend

  18. 18 Mel and Margie Gillison Mar 25th, 2009 at 9:37 am

    What a privilege to have crossed paths with this kind soul. Rest in peace dear friend and may God’s love surround and comfort Colleen and family.

  19. 19 John Nasi Mar 25th, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Bob was a true gentleman, and a hero to the motorcycling community. He will be surely missed.

    My condolences to all of Bob’s family.

  20. 20 Jim Betlach Mar 25th, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Bob was a longtime friend of mine and business associate to the V-Twin show. His efforts within the Motorcycle industry, the Hamsters organization, and particularly the V-Twin seminars will be remembered long after his passing. We often laughed recalling his first two wheeled ride in 1958 on the back of my Cushman Eagle. He was a “Special” friend!

  21. 21 Jon Kosmoski Mar 25th, 2009 at 10:11 am

    I knew of Bob in the late 50’s, when he opened his first cycle repair shop. It grew to become the largest Triumph Dealership in the country.

    He and Steve Feree were the pair t try to beat at the drags. Bob’s passion for all things motorcycle was bottomless. We ride without helmets in MN because Bob believed in freedom of choice.

    If you were his friend, he would stand by you to the death, how rare a friend is that? To say he will be missed is an understatement. We have lost a very Special Friend!

    Our sympathy to Collen and Family.

  22. 22 Sara Liberte Mar 25th, 2009 at 10:22 am

    I am fortunate I was able to meet Bob and see his passion first hand. This hero will surely be missed. My thoughts and prayers go to Colleen and family.

  23. 23 Jay and Gail Swenson Mar 25th, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Bob was one of those rare unforgettable guys you seldom come across. Despite his huge accomplishments for us and his notariety in the motorcycle community in general, he was humble..always ready to talk to anyone about just about anything.
    This year he set up monthly get togethers for us MN Hamsters and friends, many of us who have known each other for 20 or more years, and have let the time slip away. Although we knew he was gathering his friends around him because he was nearing the end of his ride, it was a gift to us as well. The dinners will continue!

    I am mostly thinking and remembering his great, sense of humor. I’m sure we’ll all be sharing Bob stories this weekend.

    We’ve lost a great one.

    We’ll miss you Bob. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all you’ve done for us.


  24. 24 JoAnn Bortles Mar 25th, 2009 at 10:25 am

    I’ve met many people in my travels, but Bob was one of the most geniunely nicest people I have ever met. People like Bob are so so very rare in this world. He was so giving. So open. I had only known Bob a few years through the Hamsters, but he would call me and we would have the best talks. There are not words to express how much I will miss him.
    Bob was a best friend to almost everyone in his life. It is indeed a very sad day to lose such a rare individual.

  25. 25 Rick Fairless Mar 25th, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Rest in Peace my friend.

  26. 26 Paul Yaffe Mar 25th, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Bob is a shining example of the human sprit. His selfless charity work and relentless pursuit of his passions should be an example to us all. Bob always had a smile and a hug for me…When we spoke he looked me straight in the eye. Bob’s accomplishments were both earned and deserved and he will be missed by all who were touched by his spirit. My condolences to his family and there is a hole not likley soon filled in the Hamsters…

  27. 27 Bruce Illingworth Mar 25th, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Bob’s passion for putting 100% into those things he loved included his kid brother, me. He showered me with love, respect, pride, optimism and strength for almost 67 years. How cool is that? Beginning today my phone is no longer ringing every few hours, but I can always sit back and enjoy so many good memories. To his much-much-loved Hamsters I can truthfully tell you that one of Bob’s last wishes was that you carry on the work for the kids. Finally, thank you for all these wonderful kind words about my brother.

  28. 28 Terry and Denise McPartland Mar 25th, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Bob ~ we will miss you and your smile.

    Our condolences to Collen and the rest of the family your in our hearts and prayers.

  29. 29 skip pillow Mar 25th, 2009 at 10:55 am

    God broke the mold after building Bob ! he will truly be missed by all . cya down the road in Hamster Heaven my brother ! you have some good compay waiting for you !

  30. 30 Barry Cooney Mar 25th, 2009 at 11:26 am

    It was a pleasure and a privilage to call Bob my Hamster brother, not only our circle but the entire motorcycle community has lost a wonderful person and a great advocate for everything we love. Rest in peace pal, you are missed.

  31. 31 Mike Avila Mar 25th, 2009 at 11:31 am

    I am very sad to hear of this news today. I did not know Bob that well but I could see that he was such a wonderful man with a heart of gold. There are people in the world that bless us all with there presence and he is one of those guys.I am hoping that he is getting a big hug from Click and the rest of our lost Hamster brothers in the big party in the sky.Rest in Peace Bob you will be missed……………

  32. 32 Brad Chandler Mar 25th, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    In one man, Bob Illingworth, we have all seen everything that represents the best of each of us. He epitomized all that is good about the industry and those who ride, and his legacy will be with us all. To be a Hamster with Bob provided us with a privilege… and a compass.

    Rest in Peace Friend. Your good work is done. We’ll do our best to carry on.

  33. 33 Genevieve Schmitt Mar 25th, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    It warms my heart to know that Bob is in heaven with God looking down upon us. He’s cancer free and in a better place. My prayers are with his family.

  34. 34 Christine Paige Diers Mar 25th, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame joins the motorcycle industry in mourning the passing of Bob Illingworth, longtime supporter and friend of the museum. Bob was a true friend to the museum and we will miss him. Our sympathy goes out to Colleen and to all of Bob’s family and friends.

  35. 35 Joe Mielke Mar 25th, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Great man, always a pleasure to talk to. Truly an inspiration to see how much one man can give. May God bless his family. I can’t comprehend how many charities or groups will feel a loss now that he is gone.

    I wish I had known him better but I’m blessed to have known him at all.


  36. 36 Mick Hansen Mar 25th, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    I met Bob forty five years ago (+or- a couple.) We met at his Triumph We became lifetime friends. A quick story about our early friendship. Bob had a meeting with his bank about a loan for his shop. He was scared to death about talking to that many ( 6 ) important people. I had been doing puplic speaking so he asked me if I could help. He came over to my shop and we spent the next three hours praticing his speech. He went to the bank got his loan. The next thing I know he is over to the capital. Telling the Gov and his crew how to do it. I’m a real good teacher or he was aHELL OF A GOOD STUDENT. As we all know what he went onto accomplish with his life. All of the stories in the blog are true but don,t strach the surface of his accomplisments. Bob we love you and wish you were here but are glad the suffering is done.
    Mick & Sue

  37. 37 Dyno Don Mar 25th, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Here’s to you my Friend, to your memory and all the memories that will Live on.. for a more true friend a Guy couldn’t ask.. I Love Yah Bob, Rock On, Ride On…. I will miss Yah Bud..

    Peace to all of the Family and Friends,

  38. 38 Doug Morgan Mar 25th, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    The Heart of Understanding
    by Thich Nhat Hanh

    I asked the leaf whether it was scared bedause it
    Was autimn and the other leaves were falling.
    The leaf told me, “No, during the whole spring
    And summer I was very alive. I worked hard and
    Helped nourish the tree and much of me is in the tree.
    Please do not say that I am just this form, because the
    Form of the leaf is only a tiny part of me. I am the
    Whole tree. I know that I am already inside the tree
    And when I go back to the soil, I will continue to
    Nourish the tree. That’s why I do not worry. As I
    Leave this branch and float to the ground, I will wave
    To the tree and tell her, ‘I will see you again very soon.'”

    That day there was a wind blowing and after a while
    I saw the leaf leave the branch and float down to the soil,
    Dancing joyfully, because as it floated it was itself
    Already there in the tree. It was so happy. I bowed
    My head and I know that we have a lot to learn from
    The leaf because it was not afraid. It knew that nothing
    Can be born and nothing can die.

    Tomorrow I will continue to be. But you will have to
    Be very attentive to see me. I will be in the flower, or
    A leaf. I will be in these forms and I will say hello to you.
    If you are attentive enough, you will recognize me,
    I will be very happy.

    So long, pal.

  39. 39 john trutnau Mar 25th, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    I met Bob back at his WIW dealership in the early 70’s. Back then you could tell whst kind of guy he was. He would help you with anything and give his opinion if you wanted it or not.
    Bob was one of the best teachers out there. He would show you how to help yourself and how mostly how to help others.
    He was one you could never say NO to.
    It would take months to write down all he has done for us all. Bob has made life better for us all.
    It will take us all to keep his legacy going (we will Bob).

    Thanks Bob for what you have done foer us all will miss you.

    my condolences to Collen and family.

    God speed my friend

  40. 40 Jerry & Kathleen Covington Mar 25th, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    We had the pleasure of knowing Bob & Collen for a few short years but anytime spent with them was a great time. Bob we will miss those “just checking on Yall” phone calls giving Kathleen a hard time about her Texas accent. Colleen our prayers are with you & your family.
    Jerry & Kathleen Covington

  41. 41 Manny Montanez Mar 25th, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Bob you will forever remain in my heart and the countless many others you touched . You were always a warm, loving, wonderful and caring person who always had time to chat; your life lives on. Bob and I visited in Spearfish last year and we discussed some of the fond memories of the rally, Sturgis City Park back in the 60’s-70’s when the drags would take place east of the park with the likes of the Rudd’s, Palsers, Smith Bros. and many many more. We laughed how now as we are older we stay in motels unlike the old days when you always rolled out your sleeping bag by a tree as bikers coming back from Deadwood would always hit the poor guy in the sleeping bag, but not a tree, there were exceptions.
    “There are tall ships
    and there are wood ships
    and there are ships that sail the seas,
    but the best ships are friendships
    and may they always be.”
    May God bless you and our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

    Manny Montanez

  42. 42 Bill Graczyk & Ellen Karson Mar 25th, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Ride on Bob … we have great memories of our times together during your Arizona years.
    Love to Colleen and Buddy!

  43. 43 Pepper Mar 25th, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Bob was a fierce friend and a fierce opponent. He was mostly a friend and mentor, and an incredibly effective advocate for motorcyclists, on every level.
    Bob said to me once, shortly after he was diagnosed with cancer, that he wasn’t so much afraid of dying as he was afraid of being forgotten. He was so sincere, but I laughed out loud at that comment because Bob was many things, but forgettable was not one of them!
    With all his forcefulness and passion and energy and tenacity, I think Bob would be truly humbled to see so many people taking the time to remember him.
    Me, I didn’t believe he’d ever succumb. Hard to imagine Bob letting anything get the best of him.
    He loved the Black Hills and the spirit of this place. He was like the South Dakota wind – one day a lovely breeze, the next a freakin’ tornado! He left an indelible mark here that won’t be erased. Bob Illingworth will not be forgotten.
    Rest your heart, Colleen, and note the stars. They’ll possibly be in a different place tomorrow than they’ve been all these centuries. Bob’s up there now, and he’s got time on his hands…

  44. 44 john reed Mar 26th, 2009 at 9:53 am

    In an industry filled with posers and bullshit Bob was one of the few good honest men, I was honored to know him,

  45. 45 Mary*Skeeter Mar 26th, 2009 at 10:22 am


    When somebody dies, a cloud turns
    into an angel, and flies up to tell God
    to put another flower on a pillow.

    A bird gives the message back to
    the world, and sings a silent prayer
    that makes the rain cry. People dis-
    appear, but they never really go away.
    The spirits up there put the sun to
    bed, wake up grass, and spin the
    earth in dizzy circles.

    Sometimes you can see them
    dancing in a cloud during the day-time,
    when they’re supposed to be sleeping.

    They paint the rainbows and
    also the sunsets and make
    waves splash and tug at the tide.

    They toss shooting stars and listen to
    wishes. And when they sing wind-
    songs, they whisper to us, don’t
    miss me too much.

    The view is nice and I’m doing just fine……


    My condolences to Collen and the rest of the family your in our hearts and prayers.

  46. 46 Kathryn (Colligan) Ciuro Mar 26th, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    What a great, great guy! He had a laugh and a smile that spread like wildfire. Ride on… Chief.

    Your friend,

  47. 47 Sherrie Otten Mar 26th, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Where to begin? What a fine man Bob was and a true friend . His love for life,family and friends
    will always warm our hearts. His smile was like a light in any room.He was always there to lend a helping hand.
    to his family ,I send prayers.To Coleen I send comfort,support,blessed memories and lots of hugs.
    Please know that he has many friends where he is now.
    Gods speed Bob,we love you.

  48. 48 Skeeter Todd Mar 26th, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    I sat and pondered my reply and could not

    improve on what has been said.All I came

    up with were memories of a great person

    and dedicated motorcyclist who worked to

    make this a better place.


  49. 49 Jim & Lucy Kruszeniak Mar 26th, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    Dear Bob,

    It was a sad day when you and Colleen moved from Sun City Grand to Minnetonka. We’ve missed you and Angel Basin Way hasn’t been the same since, as you were the best neighbors anyone could wish for. You promised to keep in touch and you certainly did, with your love, witty phone calls and great spirit, regardless how ill you were, never complaining. We thought you might be moving back someday, if only as a snowbird. This week, hearing you were loosing your courageous battle with cancer has been very heartbreaking to all of us who grew to love you. You certainly left your mark on everyone’s heart with a legacy of many fond memories. Although, you were taken very good care of by Colleen, knowing you are peacefully in heaven now, should give us some comfort, until we meet again. Our deepest condolence to you Colleen and family.

    Jim & Lucy

  50. 50 Lisa Weyer Mar 27th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    I had the opportunity to speak to Bob during the holidays when he called me to say thanks for being a friend. Here was Bob Illingworth calling me, to thank me, for being a great friend to him. I was speechless as I could not express to him how lucky I was for knowing him and the impact he had on me during my time as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Director. I was able to meet a lot of the motorcycle industry through Bob along with getting a crash course in Rally politics. It was comforting to have his support through it all. My prayers go out for Colleen, all of Bob’s dear friends and family members. He will be greatly missed!


  51. 51 Dan Conlan Mar 27th, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I had the opportunity to work with Bob many times over the past 35 years.He set a standard and example that made you want to do a good job—-and not disappoint him.
    Bob Illingworth is one of only a handful of people I have truly admired and respected in my life.

  52. 52 Mike Ferree Mar 27th, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    I bought my first Bonneville and my first Trident from Bob, both in 1970, at the W.I.W. Lake Street shop that he and my brother Steve ran. Bob was great with people, loved bikes and rode the W.I.W. fuel drag bike with abandon. He had a great sense of humor and a zest for life that was never lost.

  53. 53 Terry "TH" Heimer Mar 27th, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    I always wanted to be like Bob. I met him when he first started the MMRA, and served with him on the board the first few years. I was always so impressed with Bob’s charisma and his way with words. He was such a smooth, commanding force in the battles against Minnesota’s mandatory helmet battles. I am proud and honored to have known him. If a patch is made available in Bob’s honor, I would very much like to have (purchase) one.

  54. 54 denverarlin Mar 27th, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Bob we are all going to miss you. I remember the good ol’ days when I threw you a Hamster shirt from the back of my truck at the Bell Motor Lodge and said yer a Hamster. See ya down the road. Denver Arlin

  55. 55 Paul Hughes Mar 28th, 2009 at 6:39 am

    Bob, I am going to miss looking forward to seeing you at Sturgis, V-Twin, or a Hamster get together, and getting a call from you. I met Bob at my first trip to V-Twin and got swept up, no, knocked over by his infectious presence, and have been very blessed to have been touched by him. Our last phone call was just like old friends, he had such a way of making you feel for a moment that it was just you and him for a special chat catching up! It was hard for me to believe he was near the end by the way spoke of so many things yet to do, and even though he admitted being a little tired, you wouldn’t know it by his tireless effort. Your work will continue my friend, for you have touched and motivated many that will continue to support your causes. You will be greatly missed.

  56. 56 Brian Bonde, Children's Care Hospital & School Mar 29th, 2009 at 11:07 am

    I am still grabbing my phone, thinking it’s a call from Bob. I’m having a hard time believing the day has finally come that Bob has gone on before us.

    Bob and I have talked almost every day for the last five years–usually several times a day. If you knew Bob you know what I mean! I feel very blessed to have known a person of such values, tenacity, and caring. He knew how to get things done and make great friends along the way.

    About 6 years ago Bob had the opportunity to help a child with a disability and it became a passion for him. That was when I met Bob and he took on the challenge of helping Children’s Care Hospital and School. ( ) Because of him and Hamsters, USA, many children are getting therapy to help them talk, walk, live better lives. What a legacy.

    Bob worked until the end on this cause. Ten days before he died, I sat and worked with him on what he called the transition plan. “We have to make sure others carry on the tradition of helping these kids,” he said. He never gave in, never gave up.

    Rather than dying of cancer, Bob lived with cancer. Really lived. With the steadfast and tireless love and support of Colleen, he did more to help people in the four years he had cancer than most of us do in a lifetime–an inspiration for the rest of us to live by.

    I’m really going to miss the calls…

  57. 57 Steve Curtis Mar 29th, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    From the WIW days when we first met, from the mentoring he provided through the years, a great man. We will all miss you.
    Thanks. Good luck Colleen.

  58. 58 Steve Curtis, Alias " the rookie" Mar 29th, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Thought I might add that I was only 16 when I met him earning the
    title “The Rookie”

  59. 59 Kevin "TEACH" Baas Mar 30th, 2009 at 7:45 am

    He will be missed and never forgotten. Love and prayers to his family

  60. 60 Scott Sjovall Mar 30th, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Bob was the perfect example of why I like this industry so much. Honest, down to earth and always a pleasure to work with. We always loose the good ones too soon. Godspeed Bob and best wishes to his close friends and family.

  61. 61 Bob Marois Mar 30th, 2009 at 10:31 am

    I am sorry to hear another great one has to leave. He and the MMRA were a definite influence in Minnesota motorcycling. I first remember Bob at Twin City Dragstrip when running our bike in the 70s, then the great trips to Jamacia with Doug Morgan, Tom Jackson and the KDWB bunch and helping occasionally helping on legislative issues. I haven’t seen Bob in years and time passes all to fast, but memories of the good times will stay forever.
    Bob Marois
    Twin City Honda Suzuki

  62. 62 Don "Scooter Tramp TV" Mar 31st, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Can’t add much to what has already been written…
    It has been an honor to be acquainted with you.
    Ride hard

  63. 63 Denny Cafferty Apr 3rd, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I first met Bob one night on Lake Street in 1967 when my Lucas headlight bulb went out on my Triumph motorcycle–I probably missed a shift !! 10 o’clock at night Bob opens up the WIW Hawthorne shop gets me a light bulb and we have been friends ever since.

    That was Bob, he would do anything, anytime for you. As another writer commented, his smile/laugh was infectious. He brought the best out of people. I feel fortunate to have known him and the great people I have met because of him.

    Bob may be gone, but he will not be forgotten—the Bob stories are endless.

    Also, many thanks to Colleen for all the care given to a very special friend.

  64. 64 Mitch Klempf Apr 4th, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    I worked for Bob and Steve at WIW back in the mid 70’s. I learned a lot about the British bikes from both of them. I came off a farm in southeastern Minnesota. It was quite an eye opening experience for me to work on Lake Street. I will never forget my adventures. From there I started running my own vintage British Motorcycle parts business. I am still at it, and it may never have been possible had I not got a good start at WIW with Bob.
    God speed, Bob and hope the sun is shining and the roads are curvy.

  65. 65 Bill Nunn Apr 9th, 2009 at 7:11 am

    I was at the U in the early seventies, coming into WIW for parts for my BSA. Bob, Steve, Mitch and the rest of the guys were always welcoming and incredibly enthusiastic about me as a customer, the bikes they sold, and the business they were a part of. It was a thrill that I was eventually able to help out at the shop on the weekends, set-up new bikes for the sales floor, and generally be around the excitement. Bob tapped me to serve on the MMRA advisory board the first three years as we went to the riders and the lawmakers with our ideas. Together, we made a difference. I’ll never forget escorting Gov. Perpich to a press conference where Bob was waiting and watching him turn on his heels a head the other way – not quite ready to face the music that day. As I built my painting business, Bob became a reliable customer and friend who trusted me with the care of his home over the years, and to this day with the care of the TR6 sportscar he and Steve sold me in 1985.

    Bob was a role model and example to me as a person totally committed to his ideas, making his own way in the world doing work he loved. We lost touch for a few years but picked up the thread last summer when he called needing my help once again with his and Colleen’s new home, and perhaps, a bit more. He will surely be missed. The stories, the phone calls, the intensity; few of us get to be near someone of his caliber, faults and all. I am extremely proud and grateful to call him my friend…

  66. 66 Bill "Bullet" Schreiner Apr 23rd, 2009 at 12:02 am

    I had the privelage of serving on the MMRA Board of Directors with Bob, Doug Morgan, Judy(Lawrence)Tenny. Tricky Dick Larson and others whose names I am to old to remember. The all night sessions getting out mailings, the night we started the Minnesota Concerned Citizens Coalition(fighting the seat-belt law) The times at the Capitol, The Hill Drags and Toys For Tots, the many parties and events. These are all fond memories that I will always cherish!!!
    Thanks Bob for the leadership and memories that will last forever!!!

  67. 67 Brian Bonde, Children's Care Hospital and School Apr 30th, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Video of Bob’s memorial service is available at

  68. 68 Michael J. Ramczyk May 2nd, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    I knew Bob. He changed my life. As an impressionable 18 year old I went to work for him at WIW in 1972. Bob was like a second father, always watching out for the ‘kid from Coon Rapids’. He offered me opportunities and benefits I could only begin to thank him for. But even more, he played a major role in shaping my values and my future … and while we lost touch long ago, I still have the fondest memories of that time in my life. As so many others have stated in their postings here, I will miss him and he most certainly will not be forgotten.

  69. 69 Neil Hultman May 26th, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Sorry for the delay in writing my note, but computer is out and my eyes aren’t working any better…. I have been playing with motorcycles for 63 years and have met a lot of wonderful people, but Bob ranks among the top percentage! He has touch a lot of bikers’ hearts and was always concerned about others and projects that he took a very serious interest in. There would be no Sturgis Museum if Bob hadn’t used his finness in dealing with the Mayor and City Council. I have lived in Sturgis for 63 years and this is one of the only projects that has been carried through to the end without a battle and a vote of the citizens. I would like to see a picture and a commenorative plaque placed in the museum acknowledging Bob’s work and dedication to motorcycling.

    We wish Bob Gos speed and blessings to his family, friends and the biker community.

  70. 70 carlos anderson Mar 6th, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    carlos anderson
    I worked the summer of 1967 in Bob’s pre WIW shop behing the cathedral in minneapolis. I tightened a headbold on a 650 bike too much and he charged me for the retooling. I swept the floors and inherited his leather jacket when he went down during a drag race. It was torn up. He tossed me the paper for a lovely 650 tryumph after the summer of work. The bike was my 3 months wages. I loved the absence of bullshit in everything he did. He showed me how to be a man.

    I am sorry at Bob`s passing (I do not think he is sorry) but I am more grateful for having him in my life. I honor Bob by looking at many situations through his eyes and thinking his ironic, kind and no holds bared thoughts. I love his way of doing things and try to emulate him.

    My love of bikes and curves is my way of being with him now. I do not believe much in death. I think that Bob does not believe much in death either. I am thankful for being able to read all the comments of Bob`s friends.


  1. 1 Children’s Care BlogTalk - We Will Miss You Bob Pingback on Mar 30th, 2009 at 8:43 am
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