‘First lady of motorcycling’ Nancy Davidson dies after battle with cancer

Harley riders near the company’s headquarters in Milwaukee.

Nancy Davidson, known as the “First lady of motorcycling” for her positive impact on the motorcycle community, died at the age of 89 after a long-term battle with cancer, the Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson revealed Tuesday.

Nancy Davidson was married to Bill “Willie G.” Davidson, the former senior vice president and chief styling officer at Harley and grandson of one of Harley’s founders, William A. Davidson, and the son of William H. Davidson, former Harley president.

“Nancy Davidson was known throughout the motorcycling community as a passionate and devoted ambassador for the sport and the Harley-Davidson brand,” Harley president, chairman and CEO Jochen Zeitz wrote in a letter to Harley Davidson employees.

Nancy Davidson was born and raised in Milwaukee and married her high-school sweetheart Bill Davidson in 1957. After high school, she enrolled in a Milwaukee-area teaching college while Bill Davidson was enrolled at art school. Upon graduating, Nancy Davidson became a first-grade teacher.

When Bill Davidson joined Harley in 1963, Nancy Davidson focused her time and attention on raising her family. When Harley launched the Harley Owners Group in 1983, the couple saw the opportunity for their family to connect with Harley-Davidson customers through shared riding experiences, Zeitz said in the letter.

“Together, Willie and Nancy logged thousands of miles over the years, getting to know some of Harley-Davidson’s most loyal and committed riders,” Zeitz said in the letter.

Together, the couple traveled to hundreds of motorcycle events, including Daytona Bike Week, Sturgis and several international events. In 2010, Nancy Davidson was inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame in recognition of her long-term positive impact on the motorcycling community.

Nancy Davidson is survived by her husband Bill “Willie G.” Davidson, their three children, Karen, Michael and Bill and her granddaughter Cara.

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