Coleen and Doug Wilson in the Madera Honda and Suzuki photo gallery. (For The Madera Tribune)
Doug Wilson, patriarch of the family that owns Madera Honda Suzuki, has died, and a public celebration of his life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the motorcycle dealership, 100 E. 6th St.
Motorcycle ministry Pastor Dan Jones will officiate.
Doug Wilson was 86 when he died July 14.
The last 10 years, Doug had been a fixture at the coffee drinkers’ table at Madera Honda Suzuki, owned by his son, Robert, and Robert’s wife, Lisa. A nearby wall is adorned with poster-sized photos of Mr. Wilson on various racing bikes.
Robert and Lisa Wilson’s sons work with them at the Honda Shop. Tyler is the parts manager and Kyle is the service manager.
“My dad had a great sense of humor and everything was funny unless somebody got hurt,” Robert said. “And if somebody got hurt, once they were well, then it was funny.”
Mr. Wilson was Fresno native, graduated from Fresno High School with the class of 1947 and served in the Army as an anti-aircraft gunner instructor, stationed in El Paso, Texas.
His love of motorcycles led to him owning a Harley Davidson dealership in Fresno until 1990.
When he was young, he raced hill climbs, flat track, enduros, and in later years motocross. He developed lifelong friendships through his life as a motorcyclist. He shared his love of the sport with his sons and grandsons, but he didn’t stop there.
“He would have fathered a whole baseball team had his wife Coleen of 59 years been willing,” said daughter-in-law Lisa Wilson.
Their home was a warm and welcoming spot for kids of all ages, many with troubled home lives, said his son Robert.
The Wilsons also sponsored several foreign exchange students many of whom are still in contact with the family.
One of those men, a successful Bay Area businessman, credited Doug with saving his life, Robert said.
“He came into Dad’s shop to buy a Harley, and told my dad he planned to join the Hell’s Angles,” Robert said.
“My dad took him into the office and sat him down, telling him he was not going to join (the notorious) Hell’s Angels.”
Looking back the gentleman is very glad Doug talked him out of joining the motorcycle club.
“This was not the only young man he influenced,” said Robert.
Wilson is survived by his wife, Coleen; daughter, Kristina Cook and her husband Carl; son, Robert Wilson and his wife Lisa; two grandsons, Tyler and Kyle Wilson; sister, Helen Beck and his brother, Harry, and wife Margaret Wilson.